Cover: Rational Causation, from Harvard University PressCover: Rational Causation in HARDCOVER

Rational Causation

Product Details


Print on Demand

$55.00 • £47.95 • €50.95

ISBN 9780674059900

Publication Date: 03/20/2012


280 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

1 table


Add to Cart

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

The central problem of this work involves explaining the peculiar processes involved when a person offers reasons for what is thought or done. Traditionally, the philosophical explanation of these kinds of rational ability has been either from a naturalistic perspective or from a supersensible, mentalistic viewpoint. Marcus rejects these approaches and adopts what he describes as a ‘philosophically exotic’ theory in accordance with ordinary common sense. By sidestepping the issue of mind–body dualism, Marcus argues that human belief is fundamentally made possible by the mind’s ability to relate worldly facts rather than beliefs about those facts. Rational explanation here is not intended to explain internal states of mind. Moreover, Marcus contends that rational ability is not based on efficient causation as described by natural law but instead on a unique kind of cause termed ‘rational causation.’ His arguments weave together significant issues from epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of action. The work is carefully and insightfully argued with helpful references to current literature.—L.C. Archie, Choice

A remarkable book, one that should be read by anyone with interests in epistemology, action theory, or the philosophy of mind… Marcus has shown us that there is a defensible alternative to the Davidsonian picture of reasons as straightforward, lightning-like causes.—Clayton Littlejohn, The Philosopher’s Magazine

Rational Causation is about rationality—the capacity to appreciate and be guided by reasons. This is a big topic, straddling the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of action, and epistemology. Marcus has fascinating views to defend about each of these subjects, and he draws them all together into a deep and illuminating account of rationality’s nature and structure. The book offers just what one hopes for, but rarely finds, in work on rationality: the combination of a broad perspective with detailed and rigorous engagement of a range of specific issues. A superlative achievement.—Jason Bridges, University of Chicago

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

The Burnout Challenge

On Burnout Today with Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter

In The Burnout Challenge, leading researchers of burnout Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter focus on what occurs when the conditions and requirements set by a workplace are out of sync with the needs of people who work there. These “mismatches,” ranging from work overload to value conflicts, cause both workers and workplaces to suffer