New Paper: Actions, Reasons, and Becauses

Posted on May 8, 2024

A paper of mine that I’ve been working on for a very long time has just been accepted at Synthese after a very helpful round of comments from two anonomous reviewers. The paper is called “Actions, Reasons, and Becauses”. Here’s the abstract:

How are sentences that express reason explanations related to sentences which express rationalizing psychological explanations? How are sentences like ‘Jane is going to the pub because John is there’ related to sentences like ‘Jane is going to the pub because she knows that John is there’? Are the former merely elliptical, in some sense, for the latter? Are the former used to express nothing more and nothing less than the latter are used to express? If so, then what explains this? Are the sentences syntactically ambiguous, context-dependent, lexically ambiguous, or is there some merely pragmatic explanation available? This paper examines various linguistic hypotheses which would support the “ellipsis hypothesis” and argues that they all fail to support the hypothesis. It then argues that this has deeper implications for first-order action theory than one might think, as the failure of these hypotheses lends support to an alternative first-order action theory I call analytic anti-psychologism.