David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 9:167-171 (2006)
The official explanations the US gave for the September 11th terrorist attacks are not in fact explanatory, and there has been popular condemnation of those who attempt to offer causal explanations for the attacks. This paper is an investigation of the difficulty people have with finding and accepting explanations for acts they strongly condemn. Using research in the philosophy of mind and moral psychology, I distinguish between explanations for actual immoral behavior and explanations for fictional immoral behavior. The difficulty with accepting the existence of an explanation for an immoral action is based on the difficulty we have identifying with the immoral person. Fiction gives us the narrative required to engage in this imagination, and thus facilitates the construction of explanations. I conclude that rather than being immoral to construct an explanation for the terrorist attacks, it is the first step toward fighting terrorism
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