Authors
Justin Sytsma
Victoria University of Wellington
Abstract
Research indicates that norms matter for ordinary causal attributions. Across a range of cases in which two agents jointly bring about an outcome, with one violating a norm while the other does not, causal ratings are higher for the agent who violates the norm. Building off such findings, Kominsky et al. note a related phenomenon that they term “causal superseding”—whether or not one agent violates a norm also affects causal ratings for the other agent. Kominsky et al. offer an explanation of this phenomenon and describe the results of four experiments testing their account. In this paper, I explore the proposed phenomenon further. I present a sequence of new studies covering a range of cases, finding that the superseding effect is not as consistent as Kominsky et al. would predict, that the effect does not occur in all of the cases where they say it should, and that it sometimes occurs in cases where they say it shouldn’t. Finally, I offer an alternative deflationary explanation of causal superseding, presenting evidence suggesting that it is simply a context effect.
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References found in this work BETA

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.
Causal Judgment and Moral Judgment: Two Experiments.Joshua Knobe & Ben Fraser - 2008 - In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology. MIT Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Actual Causation and Compositionality.Jonathan Livengood & Justin Sytsma - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):43-69.

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