Giuseppina D'Oro
Keele University
Davidson's seminal essay "Actions, Reasons and Causes" brought about a paradigm shift in the theory of action. Before Davidson the consensus was that the fundamental task of a theory of action was to elucidate the concept of action and event explanation. The debate concerning the nature of action explanation thus took place primarily in the philosophy of history and social science and was focussed on purely methodological issues. After Davidson it has been assumed that the fundamental challenge for the theory of action is to answer not the conceptual question "what does it mean to explain something as an action?", but a metaphysical question, namely, "how is causal over-determination by the mental and the physical possible?". I argue that the two main considerations Davidson provides for construing the question posed by the action/event distinction in metaphysical rather than conceptual terms are inconclusive and that much is to be learned from the conceptual approach championed by Collingwood and Dray in the context of their philosophy of history.
Keywords Reasons, causes, causalism, anti-causalism, Davidson, Collingwood
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1163/187226307X176758
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,043
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
How Is Weakness of the Will Possible?Donald Davidson - 1969 - In Joel Feinberg (ed.), Moral Concepts. Oxford University Press.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Two Kinds of Purposive Action.Stephen Butterfill - 2001 - European Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):141–165.
Essays on Davidson: Actions and Events.Bruce Vermazen & Merrill B. Hintikka (eds.) - 1985 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Reasons for Action.Pamela Hieronymi - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (3pt3):407-427.
The Explanation of Action in History.Constantine Sandis - 2006 - Essays in Philosophy 7 (2):12.
Problems in the Explanation of Action.Donald Davidson - 1987 - In Philip Pettit, Richard Sylvan & J. Norman (eds.), Metaphysics and Morality. Blackwell.
Reasons, Causes, and Action Explanation.Mark Risjord - 2005 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (3):294-306.


Added to PP index

Total views
259 ( #41,307 of 2,498,759 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
36 ( #24,201 of 2,498,759 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes