David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Inquiry 31 (2):151 – 170 (1988)
This paper combines a phenomenological account of the types of causal transaction found in social reality with a critique of two theories, one structuralist and one Marxist, that contravene it. Part I argues that there are three types of causal transaction in social life in addition to physical causal transactions: people bringing about states of affairs by acting, states of affairs bringing about actions by inducing responses, and entities and states of affairs bringing about what makes sense to people to do by making certain factors determine this. It is also contended that social formations and structures cause actions and other social formations/structures only by way of participating in these types of transaction. The conditions under which this occurs are discussed. Part II criticizes Peter Blau's account of structural effects and Jean?Paul Sartre's version of a materialist theory of history, two theories that either advocate or require causal transactions between social structures/ formations which do not reduce to transactions of the types described in Part I. The paper concludes by suggesting that social entities that make actions possible do not thereby cause them
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References found in this work BETA
H. L. A. Hart (1962). Causation in the Law. Philosophy 37 (139):83-84.
Samuel Gorovitz (1965). Causal Judgments and Causal Explanations. Journal of Philosophy 62 (23):695-711.
Georg Henrik von Wright (1973). Explanation and Understanding. Philosophical Review 82 (3):380-388.
Frederick Olafson (1969). Human Action and Historical Explanation. In James M. Edie (ed.), New Essays in Phenomenology. Chicago, Quadrangle Books
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