Models of Intentional Explanation

Robrecht Vanderbeeken

Models of Intentional Explanation

En: Philosophical Explorations, Vol. 7, No 3, 2004. Ed. Routledge.

Abstract:

“The controversy about intentional explanation of action concerns how these explanations work. What kind of model allows us to capture the dependency or relevance relation between the explanans, i.e. the beliefs and desires of the agent, and the explanandum, i.e. the action? In this paper, I argue that the causal mechanical model can do the job. Causal mechanical intentional explanations consist in a reference to the mechanisms of practical reasoning of the agent that motivated the agent to act, i.e. to a causally relevant set of beliefs and desires. Moreover, the causal mechanical model can provide in efficient and unproblematic applications, unlike action explanations using ceteris paribus laws or counterfactuals. The drawback of the latter models of explanation is their modal requirement: the explanans must mention or implies sufficient and/or necessary conditions for the explanandum. Such a requirement is too strong when it comes to intentional explanation of action.”

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