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Davidsonian Causalism and Wittgensteinian Anti-Causalism: A Rapprochement

Queloz, Matthieu. (2018) Davidsonian Causalism and Wittgensteinian Anti-Causalism: A Rapprochement. Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy, 5 (6). pp. 153-172.

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Abstract

A longstanding debate in the philosophy of action opposes causalists to anti-causalists. Causalists claim the authority of Davidson, who offered powerful arguments to the effect that intentional explanations must be causal explanations. Anti-causalists claim the authority of Wittgenstein, who offered equally powerful arguments to the effect that reasons cannot be causes. My aim in this paper is to achieve a rapprochement between Davidsonian causalists and Wittgensteinian anti-causalists by showing how both sides can agree that reasons are not causes, but that intentional explanations are causal explanations. To this end, I first defuse Davidson's Challenge, an argument purporting to show that intentional explanations are best made sense of as being explanatory because reasons are causes. I argue that Wittgenstein furnishes anti-causalists with the means to resist this conclusion. I then argue that this leaves the Master Argument for the claim that intentional explanations are causal explanations, but that by distinguishing between a narrow and a wide conception of causal explanation, we can resolve the stalemate between Wittgensteinian anti-causalists impressed by the thought that reasons cannot be causes and Davidsonian causalists impressed by the thought that intentional explanations must be causal explanations.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement K√ľnste, Medien, Philosophie > Fachbereich Philosophie > Theoretische Philosophie (Wild)
UniBasel Contributors:Queloz, Matthieu
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Michigan Publishing
ISSN:2330-4014
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:27 Apr 2018 13:49
Deposited On:16 Mar 2018 14:12

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