Norm Conflicts and Conditionals

Psychological Review (5):611-633 (2019)

Abstract

Suppose that two competing norms, N1 and N2, can be identified such that a given person’s response can be interpreted as correct according to N1 but incorrect according to N2. Which of these two norms, if any, should one use to interpret such a response? In this paper we seek to address this fundamental problem by studying individual variation in the interpretation of conditionals by establishing individual profiles of the participants based on their case judgments and reflective attitudes. To investigate the participants’ reflective attitudes we introduce a new experimental paradigm called the Scorekeeping Task. As a case study, we identify the participants who follow the Suppositional Theory of conditionals (N1) versus Inferentialism (N2) and investigate to what extent internally consistent competence models can be reconstructed for the participants on this basis. After extensive empirical investigations, an apparent reasoning error with and-to-if inferences was found in one of these two groups. The implications of this case study for debates on the proper role of normative considerations in psychology are discussed.

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Author Profiles

Niels Skovgaard-Olsen
Universität Göttingen
Ulrike Hahn
Birkbeck College

References found in this work

Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.Noam Chomsky - 1965 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
Accuracy and the Laws of Credence.Richard Pettigrew - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
The Uses of Argument.Stephen E. Toulmin - 1958 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work

Conditionals and the Hierarchy of Causal Queries.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, Simon Stephan & Michael R. Waldmann - 2021 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 1 (12):2472-2505.
Ranking Theory.Gabriele Kern-Isberner, Niels Skovgaard-Olsen & Wolfgang Spohn - forthcoming - Knauff, M. & Spohn, W. (Eds). The Handbook of Rationality. MIT Press.

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