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  1. Immoral Professors and Malfunctioning Tools: Counterfactual Relevance Accounts Explain the Effect of Norm Violations on Causal Selection.Jonathan F. Kominsky & Jonathan Phillips - 2019 - Cognitive Science 43 (11).
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  • True Happiness: The Role of Morality in the Folk Concept of Happiness.Jonathan Phillips, Christian Mott, Julian De Freitas, June Gruber & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 146 (2):165-181.
    Recent scientific research has settled on a purely descriptive definition of happiness that is focused solely on agents’ psychological states (high positive affect, low negative affect, high life satisfaction). In contrast to this understanding, recent research has suggested that the ordinary concept of happiness is also sensitive to the moral value of agents’ lives. Five studies systematically investigate and explain the impact of morality on ordinary assessments of happiness. Study 1 demonstrates that moral judgments influence assessments of happiness not only (...)
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  • The Psychological Representation of Modality.Jonathan Phillips & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (1):1-.
    A series of recent studies have explored the impact of people's judgments regarding physical law, morality, and probability. Surprisingly, such studies indicate that these three apparently unrelated types of judgments often have precisely the same impact. We argue that these findings provide evidence for a more general hypothesis about the kind of cognition people use to think about possibilities. Specifically, we suggest that this aspect of people's cognition is best understood using an idea developed within work in the formal semantics (...)
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  • Actual Causation and Compositionality.Jonathan Livengood & Justin Sytsma - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Many theories of actual causation implicitly endorse the claim that if c is an actual cause of e, then either c causes e directly or every intermediary by which c indirectly causes e is itself both an actual cause of e and also an actual effect of c. We think this compositionality constraint is plausible. However, as we show, it is not always satisfied by the causal attributions ordinary people make. After showing that the compositionality constraint is not always satisfied (...)
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  • Morality Constrains the Default Representation of What is Possible.Jonathan Phillips & Fiery Cushman - 2017 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114 (18):4649-4654.
    The capacity for representing and reasoning over sets of possibilities, or modal cognition, supports diverse kinds of high-level judgments: causal reasoning, moral judgment, language comprehension, and more. Prior research on modal cognition asks how humans explicitly and deliberatively reason about what is possible but has not investigated whether or how people have a default, implicit representation of which events are possible. We present three studies that characterize the role of implicit representations of possibility in cognition. Collectively, these studies differentiate explicit (...)
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  • Beliefs as Inner Causes: The (Lack of) Evidence.Devin Sanchez Curry - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (6):850-877.
    Many psychologists studying lay belief attribution and behavior explanation cite Donald Davidson in support of their assumption that people construe beliefs as inner causes. But Davidson’s influential argument is unsound; there are no objective grounds for the intuition that the folk construe beliefs as inner causes that produce behavior. Indeed, recent experimental work by Ian Apperly, Bertram Malle, Henry Wellman, and Tania Lombrozo provides an empirical framework that accords well with Gilbert Ryle’s alternative thesis that the folk construe beliefs as (...)
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  • Causal Attributions and Corpus Analysis.Sytsma Justin, Bluhm Roland, Willemsen Pascale & Reuter Kevin - forthcoming - In Eugen Fischer (ed.), Methodological Advances in Experimental Philosophy. Bloomsbury Press.
    Although philosophers have often held that causation is a purely descriptive notion, a growing body of experimental work on ordinary causal attributions using questionnaire methods indicates that it is heavily influenced by normative information. These results have been the subject of sceptical challenges. Additionally, those who find the results compelling have disagreed about how best to explain them. In this chapter, we help resolve these debates by using a new set of tools to investigate ordinary causal attributions—the methods of corpus (...)
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  • Intensity of Caring About an Action’s Side-Effect Mediates Attributions of Actor’s Intentions.Yu Liao, Yujia Sun, Hong Li, Gedeon O. Deák & Wenfeng Feng - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • How Beliefs Are Like Colors.Devin Sanchez Curry - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
    Teresa believes in God. Maggie’s wife believes that the Earth is flat, and also that Maggie should be home from work by now. Anouk—a cat—believes it is dinner time. This dissertation is about what believing is: it concerns what, exactly, ordinary people are attributing to Teresa, Maggie’s wife, and Anouk when affirming that they are believers. Part I distinguishes the attitudes of belief that people attribute to each other (and other animals) in ordinary life from the cognitive states of belief (...)
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  • Foundations of a Probabilistic Theory of Causal Strength.Jan Sprenger - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (3):371-398.
    This paper develops axiomatic foundations for a probabilistic-interventionist theory of causal strength. Transferring methods from Bayesian confirmation theory, I proceed in three steps: I develop a framework for defining and comparing measures of causal strength; I argue that no single measure can satisfy all natural constraints; I prove two representation theorems for popular measures of causal strength: Pearl's causal effect measure and Eells' difference measure. In other words, I demonstrate these two measures can be derived from a set of plausible (...)
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  • Normality and Actual Causal Strength.Thomas F. Icard, Jonathan F. Kominsky & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Cognition 161:80-93.
    Existing research suggests that people's judgments of actual causation can be influenced by the degree to which they regard certain events as normal. We develop an explanation for this phenomenon that draws on standard tools from the literature on graphical causal models and, in particular, on the idea of probabilistic sampling. Using these tools, we propose a new measure of actual causal strength. This measure accurately captures three effects of normality on causal judgment that have been observed in existing studies. (...)
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  • Intervention, Bias, Responsibility… and the Trolley Problem.Justin Sytsma & Jonathan Livengood - unknown
    In this paper, we consider three competing explanations of the empirical finding that people’s causal attributions are responsive to normative details, such as whether an agent’s action violated an injunctive norm—the intervention view, the bias view, and the responsibility view. We then present new experimental evidence concerning a type of case not previously investigated in the literature. In the switch version of the trolley problem, people judge that the bystander ought to flip the switch, but they also judge that she (...)
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  • Following the FAD: Folk Attributions and Theories of Actual Causation.Jonathan Livengood, Justin Sytsma & David Rose - manuscript
    Using structural equations and directed graphs, Christopher Hitchcock (2007a) proposes a theory specifying the circumstances in which counterfactual dependence of one event e on another event c is necessary and sufficient for c to count as an actual cause of e. In this paper, we argue that Hitchcock is committed to a widely-endorsed folk attribution desideratum (FAD) for theories of actual causation. We then show experimentally that Hitchcock’s theory does not satisfy the FAD, and hence, it is in need of (...)
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  • A New Look at the Attribution of Moral Responsibility: The Underestimated Relevance of Social Roles.Pascale Willemsen, Albert Newen & Kai Kaspar - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (4):595-608.
    What are the main features that influence our attribution of moral responsibility? It is widely accepted that there are various factors which strongly influence our moral judgments, such as the agent’s intentions, the consequences of the action, the causal involvement of the agent, and the agent’s freedom and ability to do otherwise. In this paper, we argue that this picture is incomplete: We argue that social roles are an additional key factor that is radically underestimated in the extant literature. We (...)
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  • Recent Empirical Work on the Relationship Between Causal Judgements and Norms.Pascale Willemsen & Lara Kirfel - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (1):e12562.
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  • Omissions and Expectations: A New Approach to the Things We Failed to Do.Pascale Willemsen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1587-1614.
    Imagine you and your friend Pierre agreed on meeting each other at a café, but he does not show up. What is the difference between a friend’s not showing up meeting? and any other person not coming? In some sense, all people who did not come show the same kind of behaviour, but most people would be willing to say that the absence of a friend who you expected to see is different in kind. In this paper, I will spell (...)
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  • How Prescriptive Norms Influence Causal Inferences.Jana Samland & Michael R. Waldmann - 2016 - Cognition 156:164-176.
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