Deviant causal chains and the irreducibility of teleological explanation

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (2):195–213 (1997)
We typically explain human action teleologically, by citing the action's goal or purpose. However, a broad class of naturalistic projects within the philosophy of mind presuppose that teleological explanation is reducible to causal explanation. In this paper I argue that two recently suggested strategies - one suggested by Al Mele and the other proposed by John Bishop and Christopher Peacocke - fail to provide a successful causal analysis of teleological explanation. The persistent troubles encountered by the reductive project suggest that teleological explanations are irreducible and that the naturalistic accounts of mind and agency should be called into question.
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DOI 10.1111/1468-0114.00035
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Joshua Shepherd (2014). The Contours of Control. Philosophical Studies 170 (3):395-411.
Yair Levy (forthcoming). Action Unified. Philosophical Quarterly:pqv056.
Yair Levy (2013). Intentional Action First. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):705-718.
Alfred R. Mele (2005). Decisions, Intentions, and Free Will. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):146-162.

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