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  1. 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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  • Is There Really an Omission Effect?Pascale Willemsen & Kevin Reuter - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (8):1142-1159.
    The omission effect, first described by Spranca and colleagues, has since been extensively studied and repeatedly confirmed. All else being equal, most people judge it to be morally worse to actively bring about a negative event than to passively allow that event to happen. In this paper, we provide new experimental data that challenges previous studies of the omission effect both methodologically and philosophically. We argue that previous studies have failed to control for the equivalence of rules that are violated (...)
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  • The Oxford Handbook of Causal Reasoning.Michael R. Waldmann (ed.) - 2017 - 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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  • 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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  • Norms in Counterfactual Selection.Sina Fazelpour - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (1):114-139.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • A Simple Definition of ‘Intentionally’.Tadeg Quillien & Tamsin C. German - 2021 - Cognition 214:104806.
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  • Causation, Responsibility, and Typicality.Justin Sytsma - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-21.
    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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  • 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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  • Causal Judgments About Atypical Actions Are Influenced by Agents' Epistemic States.Lara Kirfel & David Lagnado - 2021 - Cognition 212:104721.
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  • Counterfactual Thinking and Recency Effects in Causal Judgment.Paul Henne, Aleksandra Kulesza, Karla Perez & Augustana Houcek - 2021 - Cognition 212:104708.
    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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  • Perceived Similarity of Imagined Possible Worlds Affects Judgments of Counterfactual Plausibility.Felipe De Brigard, Paul Henne & Matthew L. Stanley - 2021 - Cognition 209:104574.
    People frequently entertain counterfactual thoughts, or mental simulations about alternative ways the world could have been. But the perceived plausibility of those counterfactual thoughts varies widely. The current article interfaces research in the philosophy and semantics of counterfactual statements with the psychology of mental simulations, and it explores the role of perceived similarity in judgments of counterfactual plausibility. We report results from seven studies (N = 6405) jointly supporting three interconnected claims. First, the perceived plausibility of a counterfactual event is (...)
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  • Normality and Actual Causal Strength.Thomas Icard, Jonathan 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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  • Sexual Orientation and Choice.Saray Ayala - 2017 - Journal of Social Ontology 3 (2):249-265.
    Is there a choice in sexual orientation? [Wilkerson, William S. : “Is It a Choice? Sexual Orientation as Interpretation”. In: Journal of Social Philosophy 40. No. 1, p. 97–116] argues that sexual desires require interpretation in order to be fully constituted, and therefore sexual orientation is at least partially constituted by choice. [Díaz-León, Esa : “Sexual Orientation as Interpretation? Sexual Desires, Concepts, and Choice”; In: Journal of Social Ontology] critically assesses Wilkerson’s argument, concluding that we still lack a good argument (...)
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  • Cold Side-Effect Effect: Affect Does Not Mediate the Influence of Moral Considerations in Intentionality Judgments.Rodrigo Díaz - 2017 - Frontiers in Psychology 8:295.
    Research has consistently shown that people consider harmful side effects of an action more intentional than helpful side effects. This phenomenon is known as the side- effect effect (SEE), which refers to the influence of moral considerations in judgments of intentionality and other non-moral concepts. There is an ongoing debate about how to explain this asymmetric pattern of judgment and the psychological factors involved in it. It has been posited that affective reactions to agents that bring about harmful side- effects (...)
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  • Time and Singular Causation—A Computational Model.Simon Stephan, Ralf Mayrhofer & Michael R. Waldmann - 2020 - Cognitive Science 44 (7).
    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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  • 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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  • How Prescriptive Norms Influence Causal Inferences.Jana Samland & Michael R. Waldmann - 2016 - Cognition 156:164-176.
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  • A Counterfactual Explanation for the Action Effect in Causal Judgment.Paul Henne, Laura Niemi, Ángel Pinillos, Felipe De Brigard & Joshua Knobe - 2019 - Cognition 190:157-164.
    People’s causal judgments are susceptible to the action effect, whereby they judge actions to be more causal than inactions. We offer a new explanation for this effect, the counterfactual explanation: people judge actions to be more causal than inactions because they are more inclined to consider the counterfactual alternatives to actions than to consider counterfactual alternatives to inactions. Experiment 1a conceptually replicates the original action effect for causal judgments. Experiment 1b confirms a novel prediction of the new explanation, the reverse (...)
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  • Blame, Not Ability, Impacts Moral “Ought” Judgments for Impossible Actions: Toward an Empirical Refutation of “Ought” Implies “Can”.Vladimir Chituc, Paul Henne, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Felipe De Brigard - 2016 - Cognition 150:20-25.
    Recently, psychologists have explored moral concepts including obligation, blame, and ability. While little empirical work has studied the relationships among these concepts, philosophers have widely assumed such a relationship in the principle that “ought” implies “can,” which states that if someone ought to do something, then they must be able to do it. The cognitive underpinnings of these concepts are tested in the three experiments reported here. In Experiment 1, most participants judge that an agent ought to keep a promise (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Sticky Situations: 'Force' and Quantifier Domains.Matthew Mandelkern & Jonathan Phillips - forthcoming - Semantics and Linguistic Theory 28.
    When do we judge that someone was forced to do what they did? One relatively well-established finding is that subjects tend to judge that agents were not forced to do actions when those actions violate norms. A surprising discovery of Young & Phillips 2011 is that this effect seems to disappear when we frame the relevant ‘force’-claim in the active rather than passive voice ('X forced Y to φ ' vs. 'Y was forced to φ by X'). Young and Phillips (...)
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  • A Simple Linguistic Approach to the Knobe Effect, or the Knobe Effect Without Any Vignette.Masaharu Mizumoto - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (7):1613-1630.
    In this paper we will propose a simple linguistic approach to the Knobe effect, or the moral asymmetry of intention attribution in general, which is just to ask the felicity judgments on the relevant sentences without any vignette at all. Through this approach we were in fact able to reproduce the Knobe effects in different languages, with large effect sizes. We shall defend the significance of this simple approach by arguing that our approach and its results not only tell interesting (...)
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  • Are Philosophers Good Intuition Predictors?Shen-yi Liao - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (7):1004-1014.
    Some philosophers have criticized experimental philosophy for being superfluous. Jackson implies that experimental philosophy studies are unnecessary. More recently, Dunaway, Edmunds, and Manley empirically demonstrate that experimental studies do not deliver surprising results, which is a pro tanto reason for foregoing conducting such studies. This paper gives theoretical and empirical considerations against the superfluity criticism. The questions concerning the surprisingness of experimental philosophy studies have not been properly disambiguated, and their metaphilosophical significance have not been properly assessed. Once the most (...)
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  • How We Know What Not To Think.Jonathan Phillips, Adam Morris & Fiery Cushman - 2019 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 23 (12):1026-1040.
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  • Perceptual Skill And Social Structure.Jessie Munton - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1):131-161.
    Visual perception relies on stored information and environmental associations to arrive at a determinate representation of the world. This opens up the disturbing possibility that our visual experiences could themselves be subject to a kind of racial bias, simply in virtue of accurately encoding previously encountered environmental regularities. This possibility raises the following question: what, if anything, is wrong with beliefs grounded upon these prejudicial experiences? They are consistent with a range of epistemic norms, including evidentialist and reliabilist standards for (...)
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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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  • A Common Framework for Theories of Norm Compliance.Adam Morris & Fiery Cushman - 2018 - Social Philosophy and Policy 35 (1):101-127.
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  • Counterfactual and Semi-Factual Thoughts in Moral Judgements About Failed Attempts to Harm.Mary Parkinson & Ruth M. J. Byrne - 2017 - Thinking and Reasoning 23 (4):409-448.
    People judge that an individual who attempts to harm someone but fails should be blamed and punished more when they imagine how things could have turned out worse, compared to when they imagine how things could have turned out the same, or when they think only about what happened. This moral counterfactual amplification effect occurs when people believe the protagonist had no reason for the attempt to harm, and not when the protagonist had a reason, as Experiment 1 shows. It (...)
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