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The justificandum of the human sciences: Collingwood on reasons for acting


It is sometimes assumed that justification is factive. A negative implication of this claim is that reasons are not psychological entities such as believings or desirings. Another, positive, implication of this claim is that there is an important connection between justification and truth. If it is not raining, Paul is not justified in taking the umbrella not only because his believing it is raining is not the sort of thing which can play a justificatory role, but also because no action can be justified by something that is not the case. Elaborating on the work of Collingwood and Dray, this paper argues that there is a notion of justification at work in a hermeneutic context that is not factive but which is nonetheless sufficiently robust to support the view that the explanation of action is normative and, as such, a species of justification rather than descriptive/causal explanation.

Acceptance Date Sep 16, 2016
Publication Date Jan 1, 2017
Journal Collingwood and British Idealism Studies: incorporating Bradley Studies
Print ISSN 1744-9413
Publisher Imprint Academic
Pages 41-65
Keywords Collingwood, Dray, action explanation, externalism, internalism, psychologism, causalism, anti-causalism, explanatory reasons
Publisher URL