Publication details

Reason, Motive and Cause from a Wittgensteinian Perspective



Year of publication 2015
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Realism – Relativism – Constructivism. Papers of the 38th International Wittgenstein Symposium
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Philosophy and religion
Keywords Ludwig Wittgenstein; intentionality; reason; cause; internal relations; external relations
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Description We can say of an intentional action that it has a reason or a motive; and in the same vein, such an action must have a cause. It is thus only a matter of terminology whether all species of intentionality can be restated in this way—as a relation between an action and its motive. I argue that the distinction between a reason and a cause is a special case of the distinction between internal and external relations. This distinction allows us to analyze a metaphysical haze which is produced by confusing empirical (i.e. external) and grammatical (i.e. internal) propositions. When an agent aims to justify their action, they have several options at their disposal: (1) to give the actual cause which is always hypothetical (2) to report their actual reason, and (3) to give a possible reason which might have led to the action.
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