Laws, Causality and the Intentional Explanation of Action

in Frontiers of Philosophy in China
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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.

Laws, Causality and the Intentional Explanation of Action

in Frontiers of Philosophy in China

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