Two Orders of Things: Wittgenstein on Reasons and Causes

Philosophy 92 (3):369-97 (2017)
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This paper situates Wittgenstein in what is known as the causalism/anti-causalism debate in the philosophy of mind and action and reconstructs his arguments to the effect that reasons are not a species of causes. On the one hand, the paper aims to reinvigorate the question of what these arguments are by offering a historical sketch of the debate showing that Wittgenstein's arguments were overshadowed by those of the people he influenced, and that he came to be seen as an anti-causalist for reasons that are in large part extraneous to his thought. On the other hand, the paper aims to recover the arguments scattered in Wittgenstein's own writings by detailing and defending three lines of argument distinguishing reasons from causes. The paper concludes that Wittgenstein's arguments differ from those of his immediate successors; that he anticipates current anti-psychologistic trends; and that he is perhaps closer to Davidson than historical dialectics suggest.
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First archival date: 2017-02-15
Latest version: 4 (2017-11-10)
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