Action explanation and its presuppositions

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (1):123-146 (2019)
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In debates about rationalizing action explanation causalists assume that the psychological states that explain an intentional action have both causal and rational features. I scrutinize the presuppositions of those who seek and offer rationalizing action explanations. This scrutiny shows, I argue, that where rational features play an explanatory role in these contexts, causal features play only a presuppositional role. But causal features would have to play an explanatory role if rationalizing action explanation were a species of causal explanation. Consequently, we should conclude that action explanation is not a species of causal explanation.

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Lilian O'Brien
University of Helsinki


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