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An Argument against the Causal Theory of Action Explanation
Scott R. Sehon
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 60, No. 1 (Jan., 2000), pp. 67-85
Published by: International Phenomenological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2653428
Page Count: 19
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Teleology, Reification, Desire, Causal theory, Folk psychology, Common sense, Causal explanations, Contrafactuals, Empiricism, Syntactical antecedents
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It is widely held that belief explanations of action are a species of causal explanation. This paper argues against the causal construal of action explanation. It first defends the claim that unless beliefs are brain states, beliefs cannot causally explain behavior. Second, the paper argues against the view that beliefs are brain states. It follows from these claims that beliefs do not causally explain behavior. An alternative account is then proposed, according to which action explanation is teleological rather than causal, and the paper closes by suggesting that teleological account makes sense of and supports the autonomy of common sense psychology.
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research © 2000 International Phenomenological Society