Explaining the Abstract/Concrete Paradoxes in Moral Psychology: The NBAR Hypothesis

Authors
David Ripley
Monash University
Eric Mandelbaum
CUNY Graduate Center
Abstract
For some reason, participants hold agents more responsible for their actions when a situation is described concretely than when the situation is described abstractly. We present examples of this phenomenon, and survey some attempts to explain it. We divide these attempts into two classes: affective theories and cognitive theories. After criticizing both types of theories we advance our novel hypothesis: that people believe that whenever a norm is violated, someone is responsible for it. This belief, along with the familiar workings of cognitive dissonance theory, is enough to not only explain all of the abstract/concrete paradoxes, but also explains seemingly unrelated effects, like the anthropomorphization of malfunctioning inanimate objects.
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-012-0106-3
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References found in this work BETA

The Emotional Construction of Morals.Jesse Prinz - 2007 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

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Moral Responsibility and Free Will: A Meta-Analysis.Adam Feltz & Florian Cova - 2014 - Consciousness and Cognition 30:234-246.
Perceptions of Philosophical Inquiry: A Survey.John Turri - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (4):805-816.

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