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Causing Human ActionsNew Perspectives on the Causal Theory of Action$
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Jesús H. Aguilar and Andrei A. Buckareff

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014564

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014564.001.0001

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Teleological Explanations of Actions: Anticausalism versus Causalism

Teleological Explanations of Actions: Anticausalism versus Causalism

Chapter:
(p.183) 13 Teleological Explanations of Actions: Anticausalism versus Causalism
Source:
Causing Human Actions
Author(s):

Mele Alfred R.

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262014564.003.0096

This chapter discusses the view according to which human actions are explained teleologically and, therefore, all causal accounts of action explanation are, in a sense, rivals. This view is referred to here as “anticausalist teleologism” (AT). Teleological explanations of human actions are explanations in terms of aims, goals, or purposes of human agents. After providing some background on AT, an objection raised by Mele to a proposal George Wilson makes in developing his version of AT is presented and dissected. Scott Sehon’s recent reply to Mele’s objection is then presented, after which, Donald Davidson’s challenge to anticausalists about action explanation comes next. In conclusion, this chapter presents a reply to this challenge proposed by Sehon, which is explained in detail.

Keywords:   human actions, causal accounts, action explanation, anticausalist teleologism, AT, human agents, Mele, George Wilson, Scott Sehon, Donald Davidson

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