I want to develop a teleological theory of explanation in historiography. Causalists of human action explanation assume that in order for historiography and the humanities in general to be scientific at all, those disciplines have to take over the explanation methods of the sciences, i.e. their causal mode of explanation. But disciplines like history, sociology, political sciences, economics a.s.o. deal with human actions and those are to be explained teleologically. The true form of explanation of human actions takes the agent’s intentions and beliefs as premises of a practical syllogism, from which the explanandum follows logically. I want to show that the picture of the causalist action theorist is fuelled from several misconceptions: I) that actions are physical events, II) that actions are physical events accompanied by volitional mental occurrences, III) that these volitional mental occurrences are causing actions just like natural phenomena cause each other. Also, the explanation of human actions does not depend on so-called “normic law hypothesis”. Instead, historical explanations work like everyday explanations of contemporary’s actions. To explain an action by a reason is not to refer to another event which is a Humean cause of it, but to embed the action in a context such that it can be understood, what the agent went after and thereby it will be understood, what the action was.
- Schumann, Gunnar (ed.): Explanation in Action Theory and Historiography. Causal and Teleological Approaches, Routledge 2019.
- Schumann, Gunnar: "An anti-causal theory of action as basis for historical explanations. A sketch", in: Schumann, Gunnar (ed.): Explanation in Action Theory and Historiography. Causal and Teleological Approaches, Routledge 2019: 215-233.
- Schumann, Gunnar: "Introduction", in: Schumann, Gunnar (ed.): Explanation in Action Theory and Historiography. Causal and Teleological Approaches, Routledge 2019: 1-42.
- Schumann, Gunnar: "Von Wright’s theory of action and the ‘Logical Connection Argument’". In: On the Human Condition. Philosophical Essays in Honour of the Centennial Anniversary of Georg Henrik von Wright. Edited by Ilkka Niiniluoto & Thomas Wallgren, Acta Philosophica Fennica 93, Helsinki 2017: 325-338.
- Schumann, Gunnar: "Handlungen und Handlungserklärungen" [Replik auf Doris Gerber: "Geschichte und Intentionalität – ein systematischer Klärungsversuch"], in: Erwägen Wissen Ethik (EWE) 26, Heft 4, 2015: 522-525.
- Schumann, Gunnar: "Practical reasoning as normative reasoning", XXIII. Deutscher Kongress für Philosophie 2014, 65. https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:hbz:6-12319443142