The Explanatory Force of Reason Explanations

Rüdiger Bittner

in Doing Things for Reasons

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780195143645
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833085 | DOI:
The Explanatory Force of Reason Explanations

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The chapter asks how such a conception of reasons for which people do things can account for the fact that explanation of action is provided by indicating the reasons for which the thing in question was done. The answer is that reason explanations are a subclass of historical explanations. Historical explanations, however, do not hold explanatory force just by being historical explanations, but by following some more specific pattern. Reason explanations form one such pattern. While they are not strong enough to support corresponding predictions and counterfactuals, the understanding they provide should not therefore be contrasted, as in the traditional distinction between explanation and understanding, with the understanding gained from explaining phenomena by reference to general laws.

Keywords: action; counterfactual; explanation; explanation of action; historical explanation; prediction; reasons for action; understanding

Chapter.  6401 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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