Actions, reasons, and intentions: Overcoming Davidson's ontological prejudice

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Abstract

This article defends the idea that causal relations between reasons and actions are wholly irrelevant to the explanatory efficacy of reason-explanations. The analysis of reason-explanations provided in this article shows that the so-called "problem of explanatory force" is solved, not by putative causal relations between the reasons for which agents act and their actions, but rather by the intentions that agents necessarily have when they act for a reason. Additionally, the article provides a critique of the principal source of support for the thesis that reason-explanations are causal explanations, namely, Davidson's argument in "Actions, Reasons, and Causes." It is shown that Davidson's argument for this thesis rests crucially on two mistakes: his definition of intentional action and his ontological prejudice against intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-479
Number of pages21
JournalDialogue-Canadian Philosophical Review
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

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