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

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 J. Prinz - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Universal Moral Grammar: Theory, Evidence, and the Future.John Mikhail - 2007 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11 (4):143 –152.

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Citations of this work BETA
Thinking is Believing.Eric Mandelbaum - 2013 - Inquiry 57 (1):55-96.
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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