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Summary

These papers explore a range of issues in metaphysics by drawing on empirical work.  While much of the current work has been focused on the ordinary understanding of causation (see Experimental Philosophy: Causation), other work has focused on issues such as event individuation, mereology, personal identity, and temporal experience. This work is largely focused on bringing certain empirical results to bear on relevant disputes in metaphysics.  But some of this work—especially early work by Alvin Goldman and more recently Laurie Paul—is more programmatic (e.g., arguing for the relevance of cognitive science to metaphysics).

Key works Personal identity: Nichols & Bruno 2010.  Temporal experience: Paul 2010.  Event individuation: Goldman 2007.  Mereology: Rose & Schaffer 2017.  Causation: see Experimental Philosophy: Causation.
Introductions

For useful overviews of the relevance of cognitive science to metaphysics see e.g., Goldman 1987, Goldman 1989, Goldman 2007, Paul 2010

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  1. Cause, "Cause", and Norm.John Schwenkler & Eric Sievers - forthcoming - In Pascale Willemsen & Alex Wiegmann (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Causation.
    This chapter presents a series of experiments that elicit causal judgments using statements that do not include the verb "to cause". In particular, our interest is in exploring the extent to which previously observed effects of normative considerations on agreement with what we call "cause"-statements, i.e. those of the form "X caused ..." extend as well to those of the form "X V-ed Y", where V is a lexical causative. Our principal finding is that in many cases the effects do (...)
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  2. Intuitions in the Ontology of Musical Works.Elzė Sigutė Mikalonytė - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-20.
    An impressive variety of theories of ontology of musical works has been offered in the last fifty years. Recently, the ontologists have been paying more attention to methodological issues, in particular, the problem of determining criteria of a good theory. Although different methodological approaches involve different views on the importance and exact role of intuitiveness of a theory, most philosophers writing on the ontology of music agree that intuitiveness and compliance with musical practice play an important part when judging theories. (...)
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Experimental Philosophy: Causation
  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. Counterfactual Thinking and Recency Effects in Causal Judgment.Paul Henne, Aleksandra Kulesza, Karla Perez & Augustana Houcek - manuscript
    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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  4. Reversing the Norm Effect on Causal Attributions.John Schwenkler & Justin Sytsma - manuscript
    Research in the psychology of causal thinking has frequently revealed effects of normative considerations on causal attributions, where participants tend to assign causality more strongly to agents who violate a norm in bringing about an outcome. Across several experiments, we show that it is possible to reverse this norm effect when the outcome in question is good rather than bad: in these cases, participants assign causality more strongly to a norm-conforming agent than to an agent who violates a norm. We (...)
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  5. It's Not My Fault, Your Honor, I'm Only the Enabler.Michelle B. Cowley-Cunningham - 2007 - In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Vol. 29, 2007, Extended Abstract. Nashville, TN, USA: pp. 1755.
    According to the mental model theory, causes and enablers differ in meaning, and therefore in their logical consequences (Goldvarg & Johnson-Laird, 2001). They are consistent with different possibilities. Recent psychological studies have argued to the contrary, and suggested that linguistic cues guide this distinction (Kuhnmünch & Beller, 2005). The issue is important because neither British nor American law recognizes this distinction (e.g., Roberts & Zuckerman, 2004). Yet, in our view, it is central to human conceptions of causality. Hence, in two (...)
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  6. Intuitions on the Individuation of Musical Works. An Empirical Study.Elzė Sigutė Mikalonytė & Vilius Dranseika - 2020 - British Journal of Aesthetics 60 (3):253-282.
    Philosophers often consider better compliance with prevalent pre-theoretical intuitions to be an advantage of a theory of ontology of musical works. However, despite many predictions of what these intuitions on relevant questions might be, so far there is only one experimental philosophy study on the repeatability of musical works by Christopher Bartel. We decided to examine the intuitions concerning the individuation of musical works by creating scenarios reflecting the differences in the positions of musical ontologists: pure and timbral sonicism, instrumentalism, (...)
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  7. Exceptionalist Naturalism: Human Agency and the Causal Order.John Turri - 2018 - Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 71 (2):396-410.
    This paper addresses a fundamental question in folk metaphysics: how do we ordinarily view human agency? According to the transcendence account, we view human agency as standing outside of the causal order and imbued with exceptional powers. According to a naturalistic account, we view human agency as subject to the same physical laws as other objects and completely open to scientific investigation. According to exceptionalist naturalism, the truth lies somewhere in between: we view human agency as fitting broadly within the (...)
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  8. Mentalizing Objects.David Rose - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy 4.
    We have a mentalistic view of objects. This is due to the interdependence of folk psychology and folk physics, where these are interconnected by what I call Teleological Commingling. When considering events that don’t involve agents, we naturally default to tracking intentions, goal-directed processes, despite the fact that agents aren’t involved. We have a deep-seated intentionality bias which is the result of the pervasive detection of agency cues, such as order or non-randomness. And this gives rise to the Agentive Worldview: (...)
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  9. Norms and the Meaning of Omissive Enabling Conditions.Paul Henne, Paul Bello, Sangeet Khemlani & Felipe De Brigard - 2019 - Proceedings of the 41st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society 41.
    People often reason about omissions. One line of research shows that people can distinguish between the semantics of omissive causes and omissive enabling conditions: for instance, not flunking out of college enabled you (but didn’t cause you) to graduate. Another line of work shows that people rely on the normative status of omissive events in inferring their causal role: if the outcome came about because the omission violated some norm, reasoners are more likely to select that omission as a cause. (...)
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  10. Causal Reasoning About Genetics: Synthesis and Future Directions.Kate E. Lynch, Ilan Dar Nimrod, Paul Edmund Griffiths & James Morandini - 2019 - Behavior Genetics 2 (49):221-234.
    When explaining the causes of human behavior, genes are often given a special status. They are thought to relate to an intrinsic human 'essence', and essentialist biases have been shown to skew the way in which causation is assessed. Causal reasoning in general is subject to other pre-existing biases, including beliefs about normativity and morality. In this synthesis we show how factors which influence causal reasoning can be mapped to a framework of genetic essentialism, which reveals both the shared and (...)
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  11. 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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  12. Folk Intuitions of Actual Causation: A Two-Pronged Debunking Explanation.David Rose - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1323-1361.
    How do we determine whether some candidate causal factor is an actual cause of some particular outcome? Many philosophers have wanted a view of actual causation which fits with folk intuitions of actual causation and those who wish to depart from folk intuitions of actual causation are often charged with the task of providing a plausible account of just how and where the folk have gone wrong. In this paper, I provide a range of empirical evidence aimed at showing just (...)
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  13. 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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  14. Folk Judgments of Causation.Joshua Knobe - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):238-242.
    Experimental studies suggest that people’s ordinary causal judgments are affected not only by statistical considerations but also by moral considerations. One way to explain these results would be to construct a model according to which people are trying to make a purely statistical judgment but moral considerations somehow distort their intuitions. The present paper offers an alternative perspective. Specifically, the author proposes a model according to which the very same underlying mechanism accounts for the influence of both statistical and moral (...)
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  15. Two Types of Typicality: Rethinking the Role of Statistical Typicality in Ordinary Causal Attributions.Justin Sytsma, Jonathan Livengood & David Rose - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (4):814-820.
    Empirical work on the use of causal language by ordinary people indicates that their causal attributions tend to be sensitive not only to purely descriptive considerations, but also to broadly moral considerations. For example, ordinary causal attributions appear to be highly sensitive to whether a behavior is permissible or impermissible. Recently, however, a consensus view has emerged that situates the role of permissibility information within a broader framework: According to the consensus, ordinary causal attributions are sensitive to whether or not (...)
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  16. Causal Superseding.Jonathan F. Kominsky, Jonathan Phillips, Tobias Gerstenberg, David Lagnado & Joshua Knobe - 2015 - Cognition 137:196-209.
    When agents violate norms, they are typically judged to be more of a cause of resulting outcomes. In this paper, we suggest that norm violations also affect the causality attributed to other agents, a phenomenon we refer to as "causal superseding." We propose and test a counterfactual reasoning model of this phenomenon in four experiments. Experiments 1 and 2 provide an initial demonstration of the causal superseding effect and distinguish it from previously studied effects. Experiment 3 shows that this causal (...)
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  17. Unifying Morality’s Influence on Non-Moral Judgments: The Relevance of Alternative Possibilities.Jonathan Phillips, Jamie B. Luguri & Joshua Knobe - 2015 - Cognition 145:30-42.
    Past work has demonstrated that people’s moral judgments can influence their judgments in a number of domains that might seem to involve straightforward matters of fact, including judgments about freedom, causation, the doing/allowing distinction, and intentional action. The present studies explore whether the effect of morality in these four domains can be explained by changes in the relevance of alternative possibilities. More precisely, we propose that moral judgment influences the degree to which people regard certain alternative possibilities as relevant, which (...)
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  18. Highlighting the Causal Meaning of Causal Test Questions in Contexts of Norm Violations.Jana Samland & Michael Waldmann - forthcoming - Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Society.
    Experiments have shown that prescriptive norms often influence causal inferences. The reason for this effect is still not clear. One problem of the studies is that the term ‘cause’ in the test questions is ambiguous and can refer to both the causal mechanism and the agent’s accountability. Possibly subjects interpreted the causal test question as a request to assess accountability rather than causality. Scenarios that put more stress on the causal mechanism should therefore yield no norm effect. Consequently, Experiment 1 (...)
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  19. Graded Causation and Defaults.Joseph Y. Halpern & Christopher Hitchcock - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):413-457.
    Recent work in psychology and experimental philosophy has shown that judgments of actual causation are often influenced by consideration of defaults, typicality, and normality. A number of philosophers and computer scientists have also suggested that an appeal to such factors can help deal with problems facing existing accounts of actual causation. This article develops a flexible formal framework for incorporating defaults, typicality, and normality into an account of actual causation. The resulting account takes actual causation to be both graded and (...)
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  20. The Good, the Bad, and the Timely: How Temporal Order and Moral Judgment Influence Causal Selection.Kevin Reuter, Lara Kirfel, Raphael van Riel & Luca Barlassina - 2014 - Frontiers in Psychology 5 (1336):1-10.
    Causal selection is the cognitive process through which one or more elements in a complex causal structure are singled out as actual causes of a certain effect. In this paper, we report on an experiment in which we investigated the role of moral and temporal factors in causal selection. Our results are as follows. First, when presented with a temporal chain in which two human agents perform the same action one after the other, subjects tend to judge the later agent (...)
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  21. Experimental Philosophy and Causal Attribution.Jonathan Livengood & David Rose - 2016 - In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), A Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Blackwell.
    Humans often attribute the things that happen to one or another actual cause. In this chapter, we survey some recent philosophical and psychological research on causal attribution. We pay special attention to the relation between graphical causal modeling and theories of causal attribution. We think that the study of causal attribution is one place where formal and experimental techniques nicely complement one another.
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  22. Causation, Norms, and Omissions: A Study of Causal Judgments.Randolph Clarke, Joshua Shepherd, John Stigall, Robyn Repko Waller & Chris Zarpentine - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (2):279-293.
    Many philosophical theories of causation are egalitarian, rejecting a distinction between causes and mere causal conditions. We sought to determine the extent to which people's causal judgments discriminate, selecting as causes counternormal events—those that violate norms of some kind—while rejecting non-violators. We found significant selectivity of this sort. Moreover, priming that encouraged more egalitarian judgments had little effect on subjects. We also found that omissions are as likely as actions to be judged as causes, and that counternormative selectivity appears to (...)
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  23. Manipulating Morality: Third‐Party Intentions Alter Moral Judgments by Changing Causal Reasoning.Jonathan Phillips & Alex Shaw - 2014 - Cognitive Science 38 (8):1320-1347.
    The present studies investigate how the intentions of third parties influence judgments of moral responsibility for other agents who commit immoral acts. Using cases in which an agent acts under some situational constraint brought about by a third party, we ask whether the agent is blamed less for the immoral act when the third party intended for that act to occur. Study 1 demonstrates that third-party intentions do influence judgments of blame. Study 2 finds that third-party intentions only influence moral (...)
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  24. Predicting Moral Judgments From Causal Judgments.Emmanuel Chemla, Paul Egré & Philippe Schlenker - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (1):21-48.
    Several factors have been put forward to explain the variability of moral judgments for superficially analogous moral dilemmas, in particular in the paradigm of trolley cases. In this paper we elaborate on Mikhail's view that (i) causal analysis is at the core of moral judgments and that (ii) causal judgments can be quantified by linguistic methods. According to this model, our moral judgments depend both on utilitarian considerations (whether positive effects outweigh negative effects) and on a representation of the causal (...)
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  25. Demoralizing Causation.David Danks, David Rose & Edouard Machery - 2013 - Philosophical Studies (2):1-27.
    There have recently been a number of strong claims that normative considerations, broadly construed, influence many philosophically important folk concepts and perhaps are even a constitutive component of various cognitive processes. Many such claims have been made about the influence of such factors on our folk notion of causation. In this paper, we argue that the strong claims found in the recent literature on causal cognition are overstated, as they are based on one narrow type of data about a particular (...)
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  26. Portable Causal Dependence: A Tale of Consilience.Christopher Hitchcock - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (5):942-951.
    This article describes research pursued by members of the McDonnell Collaborative on Causal Learning. A number of members independently converged on a similar idea: one of the central functions served by claims of actual causation is to highlight patterns of dependence that are highly portable into novel contexts. I describe in detail how this idea emerged in my own work and also in that of the psychologist Tania Lombrozo. In addition, I use the occasion to reflect on the nature of (...)
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  27. Causal-Explanatory Pluralism: How Intentions, Functions, and Mechanisms Influence Causal Ascriptions.Tania Lombrozo - 2010 - Cognitive Psychology 61 (4):303-332.
    Both philosophers and psychologists have argued for the existence of distinct kinds of explanations, including teleological explanations that cite functions or goals, and mechanistic explanations that cite causal mechanisms. Theories of causation, in contrast, have generally been unitary, with dominant theories focusing either on counterfactual dependence or on physical connections. This paper argues that both approaches to causation are psychologically real, with different modes of explanation promoting judgments more or less consistent with each approach. Two sets of experiments isolate the (...)
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  28. Out of Sequence Communications Can Affect Causal Judgement.John Patrick, Lewis Bott, Phillip L. Morgan & Sophia L. King - 2012 - Thinking and Reasoning 18 (2):133 - 158.
    In some practical uncertain situations decision makers are presented with described events that are out of sequence when having to make a causal attribution. A theoretical perspective concerning the causal coherence of the explanation is developed to predict the effect of this on causal attribution. Three experiments investigated the effect on causal judgement when the described order of events did not correspond to their causal order. Participants had to judge the relative probability of two possible causes of an outcome in (...)
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  29. Norms, Causes, and Alternative Possibilities.Peter Menzies - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):346-347.
    I agree with Knobe's claim in his “Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist” article that moral considerations are integral to the workings of people's competence in making causal judgments. However, I disagree with the particular explanation he gives of the way in which moral considerations influence causal judgments. I critically scrutinize his explanation and outline a better one.
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  30. Culpable Control and Deviant Causal Chains.Mark Alicke & David Rose - 2012 - Personality and Social Psychology Compass 6 (10):723-735.
    Actions that are intended to produce harmful consequences can fail to achieve their desired effects in numerous ways. We refer to action sequences in which harmful intentions are thwarted as deviant causal chains. The culpable control model of blame (CCM)is a useful tool for predicting and explaining the attributions that observers make of the actors whose harmful intentions go awry. In this paper, we describe six types of deviant causal chains; those in which: an actor’s attempt is obviated by the (...)
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  31. 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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  32. Causation: Empirical Trends and Future Directions.David Rose & David Danks - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):643-653.
    Empirical research has recently emerged as a key method for understanding the nature of causation, and our concept of causation. One thread of research aims to test intuitions about the nature of causation in a variety of classic cases. These experiments have principally been used to try to resolve certain debates within analytic philosophy, most notably that between proponents of transference and dependence views of causation. The other major thread of empirical research on our concept of causation has investigated the (...)
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  33. The Meaning of Cause and Prevent: The Role of Causal Mechanism.Clare R. Walsh & Steven A. Sloman - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (1):21-52.
    How do people understand questions about cause and prevent? Some theories propose that people affirm that A causes B if A's occurrence makes a difference to B's occurrence in one way or another. Other theories propose that A causes B if some quantity or symbol gets passed in some way from A to B. The aim of our studies is to compare these theories' ability to explain judgements of causation and prevention. We describe six experiments that compare judgements for causal (...)
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  34. Culpable Control or Moral Concepts?Mark Alicke & David Rose - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):330-331.
    Knobe argues in his target article that asymmetries in intentionality judgments can be explained by the view that concepts such as intentionality are suffused with moral considerations. We believe that the “culpable control” model of blame can account both for Knobe's side effect findings and for findings that do not involve side effects.
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  35. Blaming Badly.Mark Alicke - 2008 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 8 (1-2):179-186.
    Moral philosophers, legal theorists, and psychologists who study moral judgment are remarkably agreed in prescribing how to blame people. A blameworthy act occurs when an actor intentionally, negligently or recklessly causes foreseen, or foreseeable, harmful consequences without any compelling mitigating or extenuating circumstances. This simple formulation conveniently forestalls intricacies about how to construe concepts such as will, causation, foresight, and mitigation, but putting that aside for the moment, it seems fair to say that blame “professionals” share compatible conceptions of how (...)
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  36. Causation, Norm Violation, and Culpable Control.Mark Alicke, David Rose & Dori Bloom - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy 108 (12):670-696.
    Causation is one of philosophy's most venerable and thoroughly-analyzed concepts. However, the study of how ordinary people make causal judgments is a much more recent addition to the philosophical arsenal. One of the most prominent views of causal explanation, especially in the realm of harmful or potentially harmful behavior, is that unusual or counternormative events are accorded privileged status in ordinary causal explanations. This is a fundamental assumption in psychological theories of counterfactual reasoning, and has been transported to philosophy by (...)
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  37. Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist.Joshua Knobe - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):315.
    It has often been suggested that people’s ordinary capacities for understanding the world make use of much the same methods one might find in a formal scientific investigation. A series of recent experimental results offer a challenge to this widely-held view, suggesting that people’s moral judgments can actually influence the intuitions they hold both in folk psychology and in causal cognition. The present target article distinguishes two basic approaches to explaining such effects. One approach would be to say that the (...)
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  38. Cause and Norm.Christopher Hitchcock & Joshua Knobe - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (11):587-612.
    Much of the philosophical literature on causation has focused on the concept of actual causation, sometimes called token causation. In particular, it is this notion of actual causation that many philosophical theories of causation have attempted to capture.2 In this paper, we address the question: what purpose does this concept serve? As we shall see in the next section, one does not need this concept for purposes of prediction or rational deliberation. What then could the purpose be? We will argue (...)
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  39. Causal Judgment and Moral Judgment: Two Experiments.Joshua Knobe & Ben Fraser - 2008 - In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology. MIT Press.
    It has long been known that people’s causal judgments can have an impact on their moral judgments. To take a simple example, if people conclude that a behavior caused the death of ten innocent children, they will therefore be inclined to regard the behavior itself as morally wrong. So far, none of this should come as any surprise. But recent experimental work points to the existence of a second, and more surprising, aspect of the relationship between causal judgment and moral (...)
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  40. Moral Appraisals Affect Doing/Allowing Judgments.Fiery Cushman, Joshua Knobe & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2008 - Cognition 108 (2):353-380.
    An extensive body of research suggests that the distinction between doing and allowing plays a critical role in shaping moral appraisals. Here, we report evidence from a pair of experiments suggesting that the converse is also true: moral appraisals affect doing/allowing judgments. Specifically, morally bad behavior is more likely to be construed as actively ‘doing’ than as passively ‘allowing’. This finding adds to a growing list of folk concepts influenced by moral appraisal, including causation and intentional action. We therefore suggest (...)
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  41. The Folk Probably Don’T Think What You Think They Think: Experiments on Causation by Absence.Jonathan Livengood & Edouard Machery - 2007 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):107–127.
    Folk theories—untutored people’s (often implicit) theories about various features of the world—have been fashionable objects of inquiry in psychology for almost two decades now (e.g., Hirschfeld and Gelman 1994), and more recently they have been of interest in experimental philosophy (Nichols 2004). Folk theories of psy- chology, physics, biology, and ethics have all come under investigation. Folk meta- physics, however, has not been as extensively studied. That so little is known about folk metaphysics is unfortunate for (at least) two reasons. (...)
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  42. Folk Psychological Concepts: Causation.Craig Roxborough & Jill Cumby - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (2):205-213.
    Which factors influence the folk application of the concept of causation? Knobe has argued that causal judgments are primarily influenced by the moral valence of the behavior under consideration. Whereas Driver has pointed out that the data Knobe relies on can also be used to support the claim that it is the atypicality of the agent's behavior that influences our willingness to assign causality to that agent. While Knobe and Fraser have provided a further study to address the cogency of (...)
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  43. Are the Folk Agent-Causationists?Jason Turner & Eddy Nahmias - 2006 - Mind and Language 21 (5):597-609.
    Experimental examination of how the folk conceptualize certain philosophically loaded notions can provide information useful for philosophical theorizing. In this paper, we explore issues raised in Shaun Nichols' (2004) studies involving people's conception of free will, focusing on his claim that this conception fits best with the philosophical theory of agent-causation. We argue that his data do not support this conclusion, highlighting along the way certain considerations that ought to be taken into account when probing the folk conception of free (...)
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Experimental Philosophy: Persons
  1. The Aesthetic Self. The Importance of Aesthetic Taste in Music and Art for Our Perceived Identity.Joerg Fingerhut, Javier Gomez-Lavin, Claudia Winklmayr & Jesse J. Prinz - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    To what extent do aesthetic taste and our interest in the arts constitute who we are? In this paper, we present a series of empirical findings that suggest an Aesthetic Self Effect supporting the claim that our aesthetic engagements are a central component of our identity. Counterfactual changes in aesthetic preferences, for example, moving from liking classical music to liking pop, are perceived as altering us as a person. The Aesthetic Self Effect is as strong as the impact of moral (...)
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  2. My Friend’s True Self: Children’s Concept of Personal Identity.Michaela Jirout Košová, Robin Kopecký, Pavel Oulovský, Matěj Nekvinda & Jaroslav Flegr - 2021 - Philosophical Psychology 34 (1):47-75.
    Our study explores the folk concept of personal identity in the developmental context. Two hundred and seventeen Czech children participated in an interview study based on a hypothetical scenario about a sudden change in their friend, someone they know, or some other unspecified person. The children were asked to judge to what extent particular changes (from six categories of traits) would change the identity core of their friend or some other person on a seven-point scale. We introduced both positive and (...)
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  3. Personal Transformation and Advance Directives: An Experimental Bioethics Approach.Brian D. Earp, Stephen R. Latham & Kevin P. Tobia - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics 20 (8):72-75.
    Volume 20, Issue 8, August 2020, Page 72-75.
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  4. Personal Identity and Persisting as Many.Sara Weaver & John Turri - 2018 - In Tania Lombrozo, Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, volume 2. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. 213-242.
    Many philosophers hypothesize that our concept of personal identity is partly constituted by the one-person-one-place rule, which states that a person can only be in one place at a time. This hypothesis has been assumed by the most influential contemporary work on personal identity. In this paper, we report a series of studies testing whether the hypothesis is true. In these studies, people consistently judged that the same person existed in two different places at the same time. This result undermines (...)
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  5. Statutes of Limitations and Personal Identity.Christian Mott - 2018 - In Tania Lombrozo, Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Volume Two. New York, NY, USA: pp. 243-269.
    Legal theorists have proposed several theories to justify statutes of limitations in the criminal law, but none of these normative theories is generally accepted. This chapter investigates the related descriptive question as to whether ordinary people have the intuition that legal punishment becomes less appropriate as time passes from the date of the offense and, if they do, what factors play a role in these intuitions. Five studies demonstrate that there is an intuitive statute of limitations on both legal punishment (...)
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