David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (3):294-306 (2005)
To explain an intentional action one must exhibit the agents reasons. Donald Davidson famously argued that the only clear way to understand action explanation is to hold that reasons are causes. Davidsons discussion conflated two issues: whether reasons are causes and whether reasons causally explain intentional action. Contemporary work on explanation and normativity help disentangle these issues and ground an argument that intentional action explanations cannot be a species of causal explanation. Interestingly, this conclusion is consistent with Davidsons conclusion that reasons are causes. In other words, reasons are causes, but rationalizing explanations are not causal explanations. Key Words: action theory explanation causal explanation rationality Donald Davidson.
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