David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 122 (1):51 - 101 (2005)
The causal theory of reasons holds that acting for a reason entails that the agents action was caused by his or her beliefs and desires. While Donald Davidson (1963) and others effectively silenced the first objections to the theory, a new round has emerged. The most important recent attack is presented by Jonathan Dancy in Practical Reality (2000) and subsequent work. This paper will defend the causal theory against Dancy and others, including Schueler (1995), Stoutland (1999, 2001), and Ginet (2002).Dancy observes that our reasons are neither psychological states nor causes, and that our reasons can be both motivating and normative. I argue that these observations are fully compatible with the causal theory. According to the reductive version I develop for both cognitive and optative reasons, what it is for an action to be done for a reason is for certain beliefs and desires to cause the action in a particular way. Our reasons for action are the objects of some of those beliefs and desires. The causal process has two stages. This theory explains not only Dancys observations, but also many other facts about reasons that alternative theories leave unexplained. I argue against Schueler and others that the non-appetitive desires entailed by acting for reasons are no less distinct and independent causal factors than the beliefs entailed. I go on to rebut arguments that the relation between psychological states and actions cannot be causal because it is non-empirical, rational, normative, or non-deterministic, and that explanations in terms of psychological causes are incompatible with explanations in terms of reasons.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
G. E. M. Anscombe (1957/2000). Intention. Harvard University Press.
D. M. Armstrong (1973). Belief, Truth and Knowledge. London,Cambridge University Press.
Robert Audi (1986). Acting for Reasons. Philosophical Review 95 (4):511-546.
Robert Audi (1982). A Theory of Practical Reasoning. American Philosophical Quarterly 19 (1):25 - 39.
Robert Audi (1971). Intentionalistic Explanations of Action. Metaphilosophy 2 (3):241–250.
Citations of this work BETA
Kieran Setiya (2011). Reasons and Causes. European Journal of Philosophy 19 (1):129-157.
Christian Miller (2008). Motivation in Agents. Noûs 42 (2):222–266.
Manuel García-Carpintero (2012). Foundational Semantics II: Normative Accounts. Philosophy Compass 7 (6):410-421.
Christian Miller (2013). Identifying with Our Desires. Theoria 79 (2):127-154.
Similar books and articles
Jonathan Dancy (1995). Why There Is Really No Such Thing as the Theory of Motivation. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95:1-18.
Donald C. Hubin (1999). Converging on Values. Analysis 59 (264):355–361.
David-Hillel Ruben (2010). The Causal and Deliberative Strength of Reasons for Action. In J. Aguilar & A. Buckareff (eds.), Causing Human Action: New Perspectives on the Causal Theory of Action. Bradford.
Michael Smith (2003). Humeanism, Psychologism, and the Normative Story. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):460–467.
R. Jay Wallace (2003). Explanation, Deliberation, and Reasons. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):429–435.
Rowland Stout (2004). Internalising Practical Reasons. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 104 (3):229–243.
Arthur B. Cody (1998). The Onslaught of Mental States. Inquiry 41 (1):89 – 97.
Ferenc Huoranszki (2006). Reasons and Passions. Acta Analytica 21 (2):41-53.
G. F. Schueler (2003). Reasons and Purposes: Human Rationality and the Teleological Explanation of Action. Oxford University Press.
Stephen Darwall (2003). Desires, Reasons, and Causes. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):436–443.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads93 ( #11,910 of 1,096,584 )
Recent downloads (6 months)12 ( #12,685 of 1,096,584 )
How can I increase my downloads?