Donald Davidson on Interpretation

Explanation of action requires rationalization

To rationalize is, literally, to give a reason for doing the action

The answer to the question, 'why did you do suchandsuch?'

What reason explains the action, given that actor has reasonable view of
reason/action connection? 

(This is not rationalization in the everyday sense, as when I say, 'I couldn't
help myself') 

Why did he turn on the light
	To read more comfortably. 
The reason rationalizes the action, i.e. explains why he did it.

Different descriptions of action

I flip the switch
	turn on the light
	illuminate the room
	alert the burglar
	cause the man to flee, and so to jump to his death.

These are all descriptions of same action
I know it under one description but not under another

I intend to flip the switch
	but not to alert the burglar
but that is the same event
	Not something additional I do, like: flipping the switch and then walking
into the room

Important that we can talk this way, knowing an action under a description
	This itself requires a language
Hard to imagine analogous talk about languageless animals. 
	The dog comes to (the woman he knows to be) his owner
	The dog comes to the Nobel prize winner.

Consider the famous dramatic example. 
Oedipus wanted to kill the man X he encountered at the crossroads
He didn't want to kill his father Laiüs

He desired to sleep with the woman Y he met. 
He didn't desire to sleep with his mother Jocasta

	X = Laïus, Y  Jocasta, but Oedipus didn't know that

And yet he did. He didn't intentionally kill his father even though
	He intentionally killed the man
	the man was his father

What we know determines here what we can do intentionally. 

For Davidson, rationalization is causal explanation

The action is performed because agent had reason
	That reason then the cause. 

For example: 
She stayed up late because she wanted to do a good job on the philosophy paper
	The 2nd element, the wish, is the case of the action of staying up late. 

Wayward causal chains are complex. 

I shoot at Peter. I miss, but my shot causes a  stampede of pigs who trample him
to death. 
I intentionally fired the shot
	But I didn't intentionally cause the stampede

I did kill him, but not intentionally
	My action was the cause of his death
But I did not intend to kill him in this way