Skip to main content
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 1
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Waite, W.F. 2004. Fundamental concepts of modeling. p. 366.

  • Print publication year: 1983
  • Online publication date: June 2012

4 - Intentional causation


In the philosophy of mind there is an uneasy relation between Intentionality and causality. Causality is generally regarded as a natural relation between events in the world; Intentionality is regarded in a variety of ways but not generally as a natural phenomenon, as much a part of the natural order as any other biological phenomenon. Intentionality is often regarded as something transcendental, something that stands over or beyond, but is not a part of the natural world. But what then of the relation between Intentionality and causality? Can Intentional states act causally? And what causes them? I have several aims in this chapter, but a primary one is to take a step toward Intentionalizing causality and, therefore, toward naturalizing Intentionality. I begin this enterprise by examining some of the roots of the modern ideology of causation.

In the overworked philosophical example (and the recurrence of these same examples in philosophy ought to arouse our suspicions) billiard ball A makes its inevitable way across the green table, where it strikes billiard ball B, at which point B starts to move and A ceases to move. This little scene, endlessly re-enacted, is the paradigm of causality: the event of A's striking B caused the event of B's moving. And, according to the traditional view, when we witness this scene we don't actually see, or otherwise observe, any causal connections between the first event and the second. What we actually observe is one event followed by another event.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

  • Online ISBN: 9781139173452
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *