Tiede and Edistys 2011 (4):291-300 (2011)

Panu Raatikainen
Tampere University
The essay exa­mines the views expressed in von Wright's Explanation and Understanding (1971) on human action and historical events from the perspective of the recent philosophy of science. Connecting causal explanation tightly to covering laws, as von Wright does, is found to be problematic, and his Logical connection argument invalid. On the other hand, von Wright's sketched theory of causation which is based on the concept of manipulation proves to be on the right track in light of current knowledge. From this perspective, however, there is no obstacle for explaining human action causally. This is illustrated with two examples from historical research. Finally, von Wright's idea that a complete account of the historical past is never achieved, because the past can always be re-evaluated, is briefly discussed.
Keywords Selittäminen  Ymmärtäminen  Historia
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