Reasons, causes, and action explanation

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (3):294-306 (2005)
To explain an intentional action one must exhibit the agent’s reasons. Donald Davidson famously argued that the only clear way to understand action explanation is to hold that reasons are causes. Davidson’s 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 Davidson’s 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.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0048393105277987
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,658
External links
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

115 ( #24,935 of 1,725,999 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #61,095 of 1,725,999 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.