D'Oro, G (2011) Reasons and causes: the philosophical battle and the meta-philosophical war. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 90 (2). 207 -221. ISSN 0004-8402

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Since the publication of Davidson’s “Actions, Reasons and Causes” the philosophy of action has been dominated by the view that rational explanations are a species of causal explanations. Although there are dissenting voices, anti-causalism is for the most part associated with a position that tended to be defended in the 1960s and that was successfully buried by Davidson’s criticism of the logical connection argument. In the following I argue that the success of causalism cannot be fully accounted for by considering the outcome of first-order debates in the philosophy of action and that it is to be explained instead by a shift in meta-philosophical assumptions. It is the commitment to a certain second-order view of the role and character of philosophical analysis, rather than the conclusive nature of the arguments for causalism, that is largely responsible for the rise of the recent causalist consensus. I characterise the change in meta-philosophical assumptions in Strawsonian terms as a change from a descriptive to a revisionary conception of metaphysics and argue that since the disagreement between causalists and non-causalists cannot be settled at the level of first-order debates, causalists cannot win the philosophical battle against anti-causalists without fighting the meta-philosophical war.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Taylor & Francis at https://doi.org/10.1080/00048402.2011.583930 - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Political and Global Studies
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2014 11:54
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2020 13:55
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/52

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