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.
The Emotional Construction of Morals.Jesse Prinz - 2009 - Analysis 69 (4):701-704.

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Citations of this work BETA

Thinking is Believing.Eric Mandelbaum - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (1):55-96.
How Is Wishful Seeing Like Wishful Thinking?Susanna Siegel - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):408-435.
Experimental Philosophy and Moral Responsibility.Gunnar Björnsson - forthcoming - In Dana Kay Nelkin & Derk Pereboom (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Responsibility. Oxford University Press.
Experimental Philosophy and the Compatibility of Free Will and Determinism: A Survey.Florian Cova & Yasuko Kitano - 2014 - Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 22:17-37.

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