The Journal of Ethics

, Volume 20, Issue 1–3, pp 219–228 | Cite as

Reasons Explanation: Further Defense of a Non-causal Account



If moral responsibility requires uncaused action, as I believe, and if a reasons explanation of an action must be a causal explanation, as many philosophers of action suppose, then it follows that our responsible actions are ones we do for no reason, which is preposterous. In previous work I have argued against the second premise of this deduction, claiming that the statement that a person did A in order to satisfy their desire D will be true if the person, while doing A, intended of that action that it contribute to satisfying their desire D, a condition that does not entail any causal connection between the explaining desire and the explained action. This claim has received trenchant criticism from Randolph Clarke. The main part of the present paper responds to Clarke’s latest objections. The rest of the paper addresses another worry about my account (not raised by Clarke): does my non-causal sufficient condition hold as widely as it needs to if responsible, uncaused actions are as widespread as we would like to think?


Reasons expanations Non-causal libertarianism Intentions in acting Volitions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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