Reasons Explanations of Action: Causalist versus Noncausalist Accounts

Carl Ginet

in The Oxford Handbook of Free Will

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780195178548
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Reasons Explanations of Action: Causalist versus Noncausalist Accounts


This article defends a noncausalist account of reasons explanation. It suggests that the issue has an obvious bearing on the free will problem, for if reasons can explain actions noncausally, then actions could be explained without the supposition that they are either caused or determined. Noncausalist accounts of reasons explanations have been controversial and have been criticized by both compatibilists and incompatibilists since the publication of Donald Davidson's seminal article on the subject, “Actions, Reasons and Causes,” (1963). The article considers the debates since Davidson's essay and defends of noncausalism against its critics. In the process, it also criticizes and rejects agent-causal views.

Keywords: noncausalism; reasons explanations; free will; Donald Davidson

Article.  8961 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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