Explanation and Understanding

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Cornell University Press, 2004 - Art - 230 pages
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"Explanation and Understanding, perhaps von Wright's best-known book, showed the influence of Wittgenstein, but marked a clean break with the positivism of his youth. He suggested that human action could not be explained causally by scientific or 'natural' laws, but had to be understood 'intentionally'—a concept connected with wants and beliefs developed in a social and cultural context."—Daily Telegraph"This is a very good book packed with much original material; it also contains illuminating reinterpretations of some familiar theories and arguments. The range of topics treated includes causation, action, verification of gnomic statements, practical inference and its use in the explanation of action, and the structure of explanation in history."—Philosophical Review
  

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Contents

Preface
1
Causal relations as condition ship relations Sufficient
2
The revival of positivism and its immersion in
5
Hegel and Aristotle The explicit causalism of marxism
7
Division of the province of teleology into the domains
15
ation as that of causal explanation a matter of experience
16
Criticisms of the positivist view of scientific laws Con
21
positivism
29
tions The latter do not depend for their validity on
83
The relation between the inner and the outer aspect
93
In the formulation of a practical inference account must
106
tentionalist interpretation of behavior as action is contin
125
Explanation in History
132
Quasicausal explanations in history The shots at Sara
139
rules which define various social practices and institutions
151
Notes
169

accounted for in the terms of temporal relationship alone
41
Types of causal explanation The questions Why neces
55
The experimentalist notion of causation The distinc
69
References
207
Name Index
223
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

The late G. H. von Wright, who succeeded Wittgenstein in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and served as one of three executors of the Wittgenstein estate, was a visiting professor at Cornell University from 1965 to 1977 and finished his career at the University of Helsinki. His many books include The Varieties of Goodness, Norm and Action, The Logic of Preference, and Freedom and Determination.

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