Teleological explanation: A species of causal explanation

Philosophical Psychology 1 (3):313-325 (1988)
Authors
Abstract
Abstract The thesis that teleological explanations are best understood as causal explanations is defended (contra Valentine). I shift the focus of debate from behavior simpliciter to allegedly rational behavior. Teleological explanation, in the case of rational agents, involves reason?giving; and the reasons agents give for acting must be causative of that action if those agents are to be rational in practice. I argue initially that to abandon the claim that reasons are causes of action is to abandon that which renders many generalisations of systematic human behavior intelligible. I then adduce and defend against two major objections to the secondary thesis that reasons can be causes of action: (1) Experiments in attribution research suggest that agents are characteristically mistaken when reporting on the causes of their behavior; (2) Causal explanation must refer to some law, and reasons cannot enter into such laws as causes of action. In responding to these objections, I note that strict predictability is probably not a reliable indicator of genuine causal explanation; some explanations will afford predictions, others will not
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515088808572947
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,035
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

Essays on Actions and Events.Donald Davidson - 1980 - Oxford University Press.
After Virtue.A. MacIntyre - 1981 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 46 (1):169-171.
The Cement of the Universe.J. L. Mackie - 1974 - Oxford, Clarendon Press.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

An Argument Against the Causal Theory of Action Explanation.Scott R. Sehon - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):67-85.
Deviant Causal Chains and the Irreducibility of Teleological Explanation.Scott R. Sehon - 1997 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (2):195–213.
Reasons, Causes, and Action Explanation.Mark Risjord - 2005 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (3):294-306.
Reasons Explanations of Actions: Causal, Singular, and Situational.Abraham S. Roth - 1999 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (4):839-874.
Laws, Causality and the Intentional Explanation of Action.Zhu Xu - 2010 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 5 (2):280-293.
Causal Explanations of Behavior.Merrilee H. Salmon - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (4):720-738.
Forms of Causal Explanation.Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel & Robrecht Vanderbeeken - 2005 - Foundations of Science 10 (4):437-454.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-09-14

Total views
36 ( #187,692 of 2,312,747 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #82,639 of 2,312,747 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature