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  1. A new look at the attribution of moral responsibility: The underestimated relevance of social roles.Pascale Https://Orcidorg 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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  • Causal Attributions and Corpus Analysis.Sytsma Justin, Bluhm Roland, Willemsen Pascale & Reuter Kevin - 2019 - In Eugen Fischer & Mark Curtis (eds.), Methodological Advances in Experimental Philosophy. London: 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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  • Causation and the Silly Norm Effect.Levin Güver & Markus Kneer - 2023 - In Stefan Magen & Karolina Prochownik (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Law. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 133–168.
    In many spheres, the law takes the legal concept of causation to correspond to the folk concept (the correspondence assumption). Courts, including the US Supreme Court, tend to insist on the "common understanding" and that which is "natural to say" (Burrage v. United States) when it comes to expressions relating to causation, and frequently refuse to clarify the expression to juries. As recent work in psychology and experimental philosophy has uncovered, lay attributions of causation are susceptible to a great number (...)
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  • Causation, Foreseeability, and Norms.Levin Güver & Markus Https://Orcidorg Kneer - 2023 - Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society 45:888–895.
    A growing body of literature has revealed ordinary causal judgement to be sensitive to normative factors, such that a norm-violating agent is regarded more causal than their non-norm-violating counterpart. In this paper, we explore two competing explanations for this phenomenon: the Responsibility View and the Bias View. The Bias View, but not the Responsibility View, predicts features peripheral to the agent’s responsibility to impact causal attributions. In a series of three preregistered experiments (N = 1162), we present new evidence that (...)
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  • Exploring the psychology of LLMs’ Moral and Legal Reasoning.Guilherme F. C. F. Almeida, José Luiz Nunes, Neele Engelmann, Alex Wiegmann & Marcelo de Araújo - forthcoming - Artificial Intelligence.
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  • The Average Isn’t Normal: The History and Cognitive Science of an Everyday Scientific Practice.Henry Cowles & Joshua Knobe - 2023 - In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind Vol. 3. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Within contemporary science, it is common practice to compare data points to the average, i.e., to the statistical mean. Because this practice is so familiar, it might at first appear not to be the sort of thing that requires explanation. But recent research in cognitive science and in the history of science gives us reason to adopt the opposite perspective. Cognitive science research on the ways people ordinarily make sense of the world suggests that, instead of using a purely statistical (...)
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  • Normality and actual causal strength.Thomas F. Icard, Jonathan F. Kominsky & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Cognition 161 (C):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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  • 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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  • Analytic Causal Knowledge for Constructing Useable Empirical Causal Knowledge: Two Experiments on Pre‐schoolers.Patricia W. Cheng, Catherine M. Sandhofer & Mimi Liljeholm - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (5):e13137.
    Cognitive Science, Volume 46, Issue 5, May 2022.
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  • Moral hindsight for good actions and the effects of imagined alternatives to reality.Ruth M. J. Byrne & Shane Timmons - 2018 - Cognition 178 (C):82-91.
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  • It's not what you did, it's what you could have done.Regan M. Bernhard, Hannah LeBaron & Jonathan Phillips - 2022 - Cognition 228 (C):105222.
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  • If not me, then who? Responsibility and replacement.Sarah A. Wu & Tobias Gerstenberg - 2024 - Cognition 242 (C):105646.
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  • Recent empirical work on the relationship between causal judgements and norms.Pascale Https://Orcidorg Willemsen & Lara Kirfel - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (1):e12562.
    It has recently been argued that normative considerations play an important role in causal cognition. For instance, when an agent violates a moral rule and thereby produces a negative outcome, she will be judged to be much more of a cause of the outcome, compared to someone who performed the same action but did not violate a norm. While there is a substantial amount of evidence reporting these effects, it is still a matter of debate how this evidence is to (...)
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  • Omissions and expectations: a new approach to the things we failed to do.Pascale Https://Orcidorg 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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  • Moral psychology biases toward individual, not systemic, representations.Irein A. Thomas, Nick R. Kay & Kristin Laurin - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e178.
    We expand Chater & Loewenstein's discussion of barriers to s-frames by highlighting moral psychological mechanisms. Systemic aspects of moralized social issues can be neglected because of (a) the individualistic frame through which we perceive moral transgressions; (b) the desire to punish elicited by moral emotions; and (c) the motivation to attribute agency and moral responsibility to transgressors.
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  • Causation, Responsibility, and Typicality.Justin Sytsma - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (4):699-719.
    There is ample evidence that violations of injunctive norms impact ordinary causal attributions. This has struck some as deeply surprising, taking the ordinary concept of causation to be purely descriptive. Our explanation of the findings—the responsibility view—rejects this: we contend that the concept is in fact partly normative, being akin to concepts like responsibility and accountability. Based on this account, we predicted a very different pattern of results for causal attributions when an agent violates a statistical norm. And this pattern (...)
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  • Time and Singular Causation—A Computational Model.Simon Stephan, Ralf Mayrhofer & Michael R. Waldmann - 2020 - Cognitive Science 44 (7):e12871.
    Causal queries about singular cases, which inquire whether specific events were causally connected, are prevalent in daily life and important in professional disciplines such as the law, medicine, or engineering. Because causal links cannot be directly observed, singular causation judgments require an assessment of whether a co‐occurrence of two events c and e was causal or simply coincidental. How can this decision be made? Building on previous work by Cheng and Novick (2005) and Stephan and Waldmann (2018), we propose a (...)
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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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  • How prescriptive norms influence causal inferences.Jana Samland & Michael R. Waldmann - 2016 - Cognition 156 (C):164-176.
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  • Cause and burn.David Rose, Eric Sievers & Shaun Nichols - 2021 - Cognition 207 (104517):104517.
    Many philosophers maintain that causation is to be explicated in terms of a kind of dependence between cause and effect. These “dependence” theories are opposed by “production” accounts which hold that there is some more fundamental causal “oomph”. A wide range of experimental research on everyday causal judgments seems to indicate that ordinary people operate primarily with a dependence-based notion of causation. For example, people tend to say that absences and double preventers are causes. We argue that the impression that (...)
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  • When do we think that X caused Y?Tadeg Quillien - 2020 - Cognition 205:104410.
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  • Causal Judgment in the Wild: Evidence from the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election.Tadeg Quillien & Michael Barlev - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (2):e13101.
    Cognitive Science, Volume 46, Issue 2, February 2022.
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  • A simple definition of ‘intentionally’.Tadeg Quillien & Tamsin C. German - 2021 - Cognition 214 (C):104806.
    Cognitive scientists have been debating how the folk concept of intentional action works. We suggest a simple account: people consider that an agent did X intentionally to the extent that X was causally dependent on how much the agent wanted X to happen (or not to happen). Combined with recent models of human causal cognition, this definition provides a good account of the way people use the concept of intentional action, and offers natural explanations for puzzling phenomena such as the (...)
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  • The psychological representation of modality.Jonathan Phillips & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (1):65-94.
    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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  • 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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  • Confidence and gradation in causal judgment.Kevin O'Neill, Paul Henne, Paul Bello, John Pearson & Felipe De Brigard - 2022 - Cognition 223 (C):105036.
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  • How pills undermine skills: Moralization of cognitive enhancement and causal selection.Emilian Mihailov, Blanca Rodríguez López, Florian Cova & Ivar R. Hannikainen - 2021 - Consciousness and Cognition 91 (C):103120.
    Despite the promise to boost human potential and wellbeing, enhancement drugs face recurring ethical scrutiny. The present studies examined attitudes toward cognitive enhancement in order to learn more about these ethical concerns, who has them, and the circumstances in which they arise. Fairness-based concerns underlay opposition to competitive use—even though enhancement drugs were described as legal, accessible and affordable. Moral values also influenced how subsequent rewards were causally explained: Opposition to competitive use reduced the causal contribution of the enhanced winner’s (...)
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  • Following the FAD: Folk Attributions and Theories of Actual Causation.Jonathan Livengood, Justin Sytsma & David Rose - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (2):273-294.
    In the last decade, several researchers have proposed theories of actual causation that make use of structural equations and directed graphs. Many of these researchers are committed to a widely-endorsed folk attribution desideratum, according to which an important constraint on the acceptability of a theory of actual causation is agreement between the deliverances of the theory with respect to specific cases and the reports of untutored individuals about those same cases. In the present article, we consider a small collection of (...)
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  • Actual Causation and Compositionality.Jonathan Livengood & Justin Sytsma - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):43-69.
    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. We conclude by considering what philosophers working on causation should (...)
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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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  • 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):e12792.
    Causal judgments are widely known to be sensitive to violations of both prescriptive norms (e.g., immoral events) and statistical norms (e.g., improbable events). There is ongoing discussion as to whether both effects are best explained in a unified way through changes in the relevance of counterfactual possibilities, or whether these two effects arise from unrelated cognitive mechanisms. Recent work has shown that moral norm violations affect causal judgments of agents, but not inanimate artifacts used by those agents. These results have (...)
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  • The pervasive impact of ignorance.Lara Kirfel & Jonathan Phillips - 2023 - Cognition 231 (C):105316.
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  • Causal judgments about atypical actions are influenced by agents' epistemic states.Lara Kirfel & David Lagnado - 2021 - Cognition 212 (C):104721.
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  • Conviction Narrative Theory: A theory of choice under radical uncertainty.Samuel G. B. Johnson, Avri Bilovich & David Tuckett - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e82.
    Conviction Narrative Theory (CNT) is a theory of choice underradical uncertainty– situations where outcomes cannot be enumerated and probabilities cannot be assigned. Whereas most theories of choice assume that people rely on (potentially biased) probabilistic judgments, such theories cannot account for adaptive decision-making when probabilities cannot be assigned. CNT proposes that people usenarratives– structured representations of causal, temporal, analogical, and valence relationships – rather than probabilities, as the currency of thought that unifies our sense-making and decision-making faculties. According to CNT, (...)
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  • Norms Affect Prospective Causal Judgments.Paul Henne, Kevin O’Neill, Paul Bello, Sangeet Khemlani & Felipe De Brigard - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (1):e12931.
    People more frequently select norm-violating factors, relative to norm- conforming ones, as the cause of some outcome. Until recently, this abnormal-selection effect has been studied using retrospective vignette-based paradigms. We use a novel set of video stimuli to investigate this effect for prospective causal judgments—i.e., judgments about the cause of some future outcome. Four experiments show that people more frequently select norm- violating factors, relative to norm-conforming ones, as the cause of some future outcome. We show that the abnormal-selection effects (...)
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  • Double Prevention, Causal Judgments, and Counterfactuals.Paul Henne & Kevin O'Neill - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (5):e13127.
    Cognitive Science, Volume 46, Issue 5, May 2022.
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  • Counterfactual thinking and recency effects in causal judgment.Paul Henne, Aleksandra Kulesza, Karla Perez & Augustana Houcek - 2021 - Cognition 212 (C):104708.
    People tend to judge more recent events, relative to earlier ones, as the cause of some particular outcome. For instance, people are more inclined to judge that the last basket, rather than the first, caused the team to win the basketball game. This recency effect, however, reverses in cases of overdetermination: people judge that earlier events, rather than more recent ones, caused the outcome when the event is individually sufficient but not individually necessary for the outcome. In five experiments (N (...)
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  • Causal Responsibility and Robust Causation.Guy Grinfeld, David Lagnado, Tobias Gerstenberg, James F. Woodward & Marius Usher - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11:1069.
    How do people judge the degree of causal responsibility that an agent has for the outcomes of her actions? We show that a relatively unexplored factor -- the robustness of the causal chain linking the agent’s action and the outcome -- influences judgments of causal responsibility of the agent. In three experiments, we vary robustness by manipulating the number of background circumstances under which the action causes the effect, and find that causal responsibility judgments increase with robustness. In the first (...)
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  • Blame-validation: Beyond rationality? Effect of causal link on the relationship between evaluation and causal judgment.Valentin Goulette & Fanny Verkampt - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.
    The Culpable Control Model assumes that causal judgments are irrational: a negative evaluative reaction to an agent would lead individuals to overestimate his causal contribution to a harm. However, the extent to which these judgments deviate from criteria of rationality remains unclear. The two present studies aimed at investigating conditions under which this effect occurs. Participants red a vignette in which the evaluative reaction was operationalized through the agent’s motives (blameworthy, laudable). We also varied the causal link between the agent’s (...)
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  • It's Difficult to Explain Away the Appearance That Causation Comes in Degrees: A Reply to Sartorio.Joshua Goh - 2023 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 40 (1):109-122.
    Does the relation of (actual) causation admit of degrees? Is it sensible to say, for example, that ‘as compared to his consuming the light beer, Clement’s consuming the moonshine was more a cause of his becoming drunk’? Suppose the answer is ‘yes’. Suppose also that country A unjustifiably ignites a lethal war with country B, and you intuit that, while most combatants of A are liable to lethal counterattack, most non-combatants of A aren’t similarly liable. Then, you might support your (...)
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  • An interaction effect of norm violations on causal judgment.Maureen Gill, Jonathan F. Kominsky, Thomas F. Icard & Joshua Knobe - 2022 - Cognition 228 (C):105183.
    Existing research has shown that norm violations influence causal judgments, and a number of different models have been developed to explain these effects. One such model, the necessity/sufficiency model, predicts an interac- tion pattern in people’s judgments. Specifically, it predicts that when people are judging the degree to which a particular factor is a cause, there should be an interaction between (a) the degree to which that factor violates a norm and (b) the degree to which another factor in the (...)
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  • Making a positive difference: Criticality in groups.Tobias Gerstenberg, David A. Lagnado & Ro’I. Zultan - 2023 - Cognition 238 (C):105499.
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  • Lucky or clever? From expectations to responsibility judgments.Tobias Gerstenberg, Tomer D. Ullman, Jonas Nagel, Max Kleiman-Weiner, David A. Lagnado & Joshua B. Tenenbaum - 2018 - Cognition 177 (C):122-141.
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  • A counterfactual simulation model of causation by omission.Tobias Gerstenberg & Simon Stephan - 2021 - Cognition 216 (C):104842.
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  • The Suppression of Inferences From Counterfactual Conditionals.Orlando Espino & Ruth M. J. Byrne - 2020 - Cognitive Science 44 (4):e12827.
    We examine two competing effects of beliefs on conditional inferences. The suppression effect occurs for conditionals, for example, “if she watered the plants they bloomed,” when beliefs about additional background conditions, for example, “if the sun shone they bloomed” decrease the frequency of inferences such as modus tollens (from “the plants did not bloom” to “therefore she did not water them”). In contrast, the counterfactual elevation effect occurs for counterfactual conditionals, for example, “if she had watered the plants they would (...)
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  • The Oxford Handbook of Causal Reasoning.Michael Waldmann (ed.) - 2017 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    Causal reasoning is one of our most central cognitive competencies, enabling us to adapt to our world. Causal knowledge allows us to predict future events, or diagnose the causes of observed facts. We plan actions and solve problems using knowledge about cause-effect relations. Without our ability to discover and empirically test causal theories, we would not have made progress in various empirical sciences. In the past decades, the important role of causal knowledge has been discovered in many areas of cognitive (...)
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  • Causation, Norms, and Cognitive Bias.Levin Güver & Markus Kneer - manuscript
    Extant research has shown that ordinary causal judgments are sensitive to normative factors. For instance, agents who violate a norm are standardly deemed more causal than norm-conforming agents in identical situations. In this paper, we explore two competing explanations for the Norm Effect: the Responsibility View and the Bias View. According to the former, the Norm Effect arises because ordinary causal judgment is intimately intertwined with moral responsibility. According to the alternative view, the Norm Effect is the result of a (...)
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  • Counterfactual theories of causation.Peter Menzies - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The basic idea of counterfactual theories of causation is that the meaning of causal claims can be explained in terms of counterfactual conditionals of the form “If A had not occurred, C would not have occurred”. While counterfactual analyses have been given of type-causal concepts, most counterfactual analyses have focused on singular causal or token-causal claims of the form “event c caused event e”. Analyses of token-causation have become popular in the last thirty years, especially since the development in the (...)
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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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  • Following the FAD: Folk Attributions and Theories of Actual Causation.Jonathan Livengood, Justin Sytsma & David Rose - 2016
    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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