Laws, causality and the intentional explanation of action

Frontiers of Philosophy in China 5 (2):280-293 (2010)

Abstract
Whether or not an intentional explanation of action necessarily involves law-like statements is related to another question, namely, is it a causal explanation? The Popper-Hempel Thesis , which answers both questions affirmatively, inevitably faces a dilemma between realistic and universalistic requirements. However, in terms of W.C. Salmon’s concept of causal explanation, intentional explanation can be a causal one even if it does not rely on any laws. Based on this, we are able to refute three characteristic arguments for the claim “reason is not a cause of action,” namely, the “proper logical” argument, the “logical relation” argument, and the “rule-following” argument. This rebuttal suggests that the causal relationship between reason and action can provide a justification for intentional explanations.
Keywords intentional explanation  causality  laws of nature  philosophy of the social sciences
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DOI 10.1007/s11466-010-0016-3
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The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Hutchinson & Co.
Essays on Actions and Events.Donald Davidson - 1980 - Oxford University Press.
After Virtue.A. MacIntyre - 1981 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 46 (1):169-171.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Harvard University Press.

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