I. Von wright on historical causation

Elazar Weinryb

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


In Explanation and Understanding von Wright argues that if, as he suggests, a practical inference schema is adopted as an explanation model for actions, then it follows that historical explanations are non-causal. My criticisms are principally directed against his version of the Logical Connection Argument which attempts to show that the verification of the action description to be explained and the verification of the intention description which explains it are interdependent. Von Wright blurs the important distinctions (1) between acting with an intention and acting intentionally; (2) between intention to perform an action and intention to bring about a consequence of it; and (3) between verification of intention descriptions in general and of a description of a specific intention. The ‘conclusion’ of his practical inference schema cannot be the appropriate historical explanandum and the explaining procedure that he suggests is shown to be ultimately circular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-338
Number of pages12
JournalInquiry (United Kingdom)
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 1974
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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