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Rational Causation

Rational Causation

by Eric Marcus
     
 

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Contemporary philosophers of mind tend to explain rationality by viewing the mind as a kind of machine—the only alternative, it has seemed, to a ghostly supernatural explanation. Marcus rejects this choice as false and defends a third way—via rational causation, which draws on the theoretical and practical inferential abilities of human beings.

Overview

Contemporary philosophers of mind tend to explain rationality by viewing the mind as a kind of machine—the only alternative, it has seemed, to a ghostly supernatural explanation. Marcus rejects this choice as false and defends a third way—via rational causation, which draws on the theoretical and practical inferential abilities of human beings.

Editorial Reviews

Choice

The central problem of this work involves explaining the peculiar processes involved when a person offers reasons for what is thought or done. Traditionally, the philosophical explanation of these kinds of rational ability has been either from a naturalistic perspective or from a supersensible, mentalistic viewpoint. Marcus rejects these approaches and adopts what he describes as a 'philosophically exotic' theory in accordance with ordinary common sense. By sidestepping the issue of mind–body dualism, Marcus argues that human belief is fundamentally made possible by the mind's ability to relate worldly facts rather than beliefs about those facts. Rational explanation here is not intended to explain internal states of mind. Moreover, Marcus contends that rational ability is not based on efficient causation as described by natural law but instead on a unique kind of cause termed 'rational causation.' His arguments weave together significant issues from epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of action. The work is carefully and insightfully argued with helpful references to current literature.
— L. C. Archie

Jason Bridges
Rational Causation is about rationality—the capacity to appreciate and be guided by reasons. This is a big topic, straddling the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of action, and epistemology. Marcus has fascinating views to defend about each of these subjects, and he draws them all together into a deep and illuminating account of rationality's nature and structure. The book offers just what one hopes for, but rarely finds, in work on rationality: the combination of a broad perspective with detailed and rigorous engagement of a range of specific issues. A superlative achievement.
Choice - L. C. Archie
The central problem of this work involves explaining the peculiar processes involved when a person offers reasons for what is thought or done. Traditionally, the philosophical explanation of these kinds of rational ability has been either from a naturalistic perspective or from a supersensible, mentalistic viewpoint. Marcus rejects these approaches and adopts what he describes as a 'philosophically exotic' theory in accordance with ordinary common sense. By sidestepping the issue of mind–body dualism, Marcus argues that human belief is fundamentally made possible by the mind's ability to relate worldly facts rather than beliefs about those facts. Rational explanation here is not intended to explain internal states of mind. Moreover, Marcus contends that rational ability is not based on efficient causation as described by natural law but instead on a unique kind of cause termed 'rational causation.' His arguments weave together significant issues from epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of action. The work is carefully and insightfully argued with helpful references to current literature.
The Philosopher’s Magazine - Clayton Littlejohn
A remarkable book, one that should be read by anyone with interests in epistemology, action theory, or the philosophy of mind...Marcus has shown us that there is a defensible alternative to the Davidsonian picture of reasons as straightforward, lightning-like causes.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674068742
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
05/07/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
359 KB

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What People are saying about this

Jason Bridges
Rational Causation is about rationality—the capacity to appreciate and be guided by reasons. This is a big topic, straddling the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of action, and epistemology. Marcus has fascinating views to defend about each of these subjects, and he draws them all together into a deep and illuminating account of rationality's nature and structure. The book offers just what one hopes for, but rarely finds, in work on rationality: the combination of a broad perspective with detailed and rigorous engagement of a range of specific issues. A superlative achievement.
Jason Bridges, University of Chicago

Meet the Author

Eric Marcus is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Auburn University.

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