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The role of causes in action explanations: Two competing approaches.

Hatziioannou, Haralabos (1997) The role of causes in action explanations: Two competing approaches. MPhil thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

The thesis deals with the question of whether causation can play a (relevant) part in the explanation of action; it approaches it through the critical assessment of two paradigmatic theories of action, one of each side of the debate. In the first part D. Davidson's Causal Theory of Action is presented (as a development of the Causal Nomological Theory), and criticised on the grounds that it cannot provide adequate singular causal explanations of actions. The argument questions Davidson's model by challenging the way in which Davidson could justify the causal relevance of reasons. It concludes that the causal condition adds no additional explanatory force on non-causal rationalisations. In the second part, the nature of action explanations is examined through von Wright's non-causal approach. After presentation of his theory, his version of the Logical Connection Argument is considered in the light of various criticisms that have been directed against it. Although his argument is found to be inconclusive with respect to the impossibility of a Causal Theory of Action, it is argued that, the implications that follow from von Wright's discussion of it, render the causal claim irrelevant to the explanation of action. Finally von Wright's possible response to two types of criticism, is considered: The justification Vs explanation argument and the problem of congruence. The conclusion is that his theory deals in a satisfactory way with the first one, but fails to meet the challenge of the second one.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Economics, General
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2236

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