The Explanation of Behaviour

Michael Morris

in The Good and the True

Published in print November 1992 | ISBN: 9780198239444
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679919 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

The Explanation of Behaviour

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This chapter's argument was meant to deal with the uncritical assumption that the onus of proof must always lie on someone who opposes the causal conception of the special relationship. The diagnosis is that the causal conception is often motivated by the secret operation of the spirit of the Cartesian conception of the self. We must suppose that our beliefs and desires cause our behaviour, because otherwise it seems that we could make no intervention in the world. It further argues that a theory of content must be harmonious with a plausible account of the way in which contentful states of mind are properly cited to explain behaviour. Discussions in this chapter includes: an anodyne constraint; the ‘folk-psychology’ myth; unpicking the myth, the onus of proof; Descartes's ghost and ‘the mind-body problem; and the rediscovery of Descartes's ghost’.

Keywords: onus of proof; causal conception; Cartesian conception; anodyne constraint; folk psychology; Descartes's ghost; mind-body problem

Chapter.  13985 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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