Authors
Jonathan Phillips
Dartmouth College
Abstract
The capacity for representing and reasoning over sets of possibilities, or modal cognition, supports diverse kinds of high-level judgments: causal reasoning, moral judgment, language comprehension, and more. Prior research on modal cognition asks how humans explicitly and deliberatively reason about what is possible but has not investigated whether or how people have a default, implicit representation of which events are possible. We present three studies that characterize the role of implicit representations of possibility in cognition. Collectively, these studies differentiate explicit reasoning about possibilities from default implicit representations, demonstrate that human adults often default to treating immoral and irrational events as impossible, and provide a case study of high-level cognitive judgments relying on default implicit representations of possibility rather than explicit deliberation.
Keywords modality  high-level cognition  morality  norms  possibility
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References found in this work BETA

Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Common Ground.Robert C. Stalnaker - 2002 - Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (5-6):701-721.
Cause and Norm.Christopher Hitchcock & Joshua Knobe - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (11):587-612.
Graded Causation and Defaults.Joseph Y. Halpern & Christopher Hitchcock - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):413-457.

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Citations of this work BETA

Causation, Responsibility, and Typicality.Justin Sytsma - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-21.

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