Chapter

Reason-Action Explanation

Gurpreet Mahajan

in Explanation and Understanding in the Human Sciences

Third edition

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780198076971
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198076971.003.0002
Reason-Action Explanation

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This chapter discusses the reason-action explanation. Advocates of this explanation assert that historical occurrences are not just events or happenings. They are performances, the doings of determinate historical agents. Explaining them in terms of what happened to men or what they undergo is, therefore, inadequate. We need to analyse instead what men do and why they do what they do. Implicit in this form of argument is the belief that the nature of the object of inquiry in the social sciences is quite different from that in the natural sciences, and this difference necessitates the use of an alternative mode of explanation. The chapter also examines whether reason-action explanations can be considered one form of causal explanation.

Keywords: reason-action explanation; causal explanation; historical occurrences; historical agents; social sciences; natural sciences; alternative mode of explanation

Chapter.  9405 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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