Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (3):351-368 (2012)
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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References found in this work BETA
Moral Responsibility and Determinism: The Cognitive Science of Folk Intuitions.Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe - 2007 - Noûs 41 (4):663–685.
Universal Moral Grammar: Theory, Evidence, and the Future.John Mikhail - 2007 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11 (4):143 –152.
The Folk Concept of Intentional Action: Philosophical and Experimental Issues.Edouard Machery - 2006 - Mind and Language 23 (2):165–189.
Citations of this work BETA
Moral Responsibility and Free Will: A Meta-Analysis.Adam Feltz & Florian Cova - 2014 - Consciousness and Cognition 30:234-246.
Is Free Will Necessary for Moral Responsibility?: A Case for Rethinking Their Relationship and the Design of Experimental Studies in Moral Psychology.Carrie Figdor & Mark Phelan - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (5):603-627.
Perceptions of Philosophical Inquiry: A Survey.John Turri - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (4):805-816.
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