David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Thinking and Reasoning 13 (4):461 – 483 (2007)
When people think about how a situation might have turned out differently, they tend to imagine counterfactual alternatives to their actions. We report the results of three experiments which show that people imagine alternatives to actions differently when they know about a reason for the action. The first experiment ( n = 36) compared reason - action sequences to cause - effect sequences. It showed that people do not imagine alternatives to reasons in the way they imagine alternatives to causes: they imagine an alternative to an action more than an effect, and to a cause more than a reason. The second experiment ( n = 214) and the third experiment ( n = 190) both show that different sorts of reasons have different sorts of effects on how people imagine alternatives to actions. People imagine an alternative to an action (the protagonist went to a ball) less often when they know the reason for the action was an obligation (he had to participate in fundraising) compared to when they know about a weaker reason (he wanted to meet a famous violinist) or no reason. The second experiment shows the effect for a social obligation and the third experiment replicates and extends it to a health obligation. We interpret the results in terms of the possibilities that people keep in mind about actions and their reasons.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Liane Young & Jonathan Phillips (2011). The Paradox of Moral Focus. Cognition 119 (2):166-178.
Ruth Mj Byrne (2007). The Rational Imagination and Other Possibilities. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (5-6):470-476.
Similar books and articles
Florian Cova & Hichem Naar (2012). Side-Effect Effect Without Side Effects: The Pervasive Impact of Moral Considerations on Judgments of Intentionality. Philosophical Psychology 25 (6):837-854.
Cynthia Macdonald (2004). Self-Knowledge and the First Person. In M. Sie, M. Slors & B. Van den Brink (eds.), Reasons of One's Own. Ashgate.
Pamela Hieronymi (2011). Reasons for Action. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (3pt3):407-427.
Rachel McCloy & Ruth M. J. Byrne (2002). Semifactual ''Even If'' Thinking. Thinking and Reasoning 8 (1):41 – 67.
Maria Alvarez (2009). Acting Intentionally and Acting for a Reason. Inquiry 52 (3):293-305.
Kalle Grill (2010). Anti-Paternalism and Invalidation of Reasons. Public Reason 2 (2):3-20.
John Gibbons (2009). Reason in Action. In Lucy O'Brien & Matthew Soteriou (eds.), Mental Actions. Oxford University Press. 72.
Scott J. Shapiro (2002). Ulysses Rebound. Economics and Philosophy 18 (1):157-182.
Cynthia Macdonald (2004). Self-Knowledge and the First Person. In M. Sie, Marc Slors & B. Van den Brink (eds.), Reasons of One's Own. Ashgate.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads8 ( #173,508 of 1,102,630 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #85,067 of 1,102,630 )
How can I increase my downloads?