In the remainder of this article, we will disarm an important motivation for epistemic contextualism and interest-relative invariantism. We will accomplish this by presenting a stringent test of whether there is a stakes effect on ordinary knowledge ascription. Having shown that, even on a stringent way of testing, stakes fail to impact ordinary knowledge ascription, we will conclude that we should take another look at classical invariantism. Here is how we will proceed. Section 1 lays out some limitations of previous (...) research on stakes. Section 2 presents our study and concludes that there is little evidence for a substantial stakes effect. Section 3 responds to objections. The conclusion clears the way for classical invariantism. (shrink)
In this article, we present evidence that in four different cultural groups that speak quite different languages there are cases of justified true beliefs that are not judged to be cases of knowledge. We hypothesize that this intuitive judgment, which we call “the Gettier intuition,” may be a reflection of an underlying innate and universal core folk epistemology, and we highlight the philosophical significance of its universality.
Philosophers have long debated whether, if determinism is true, we should hold people morally responsible for their actions since in a deterministic universe, people are arguably not the ultimate source of their actions nor could they have done otherwise if initial conditions and the laws of nature are held fixed. To reveal how non-philosophers ordinarily reason about the conditions for free will, we conducted a cross-cultural and cross-linguistic survey (N = 5,268) spanning twenty countries and sixteen languages. Overall, participants tended (...) to ascribe moral responsibility whether the perpetrator lacked sourcehood or alternate possibilities. However, for American, European, and Middle Eastern participants, being the ultimate source of one’s actions promoted perceptions of free will and control as well as ascriptions of blame and punishment. By contrast, being the source of one’s actions was not particularly salient to Asian participants. Finally, across cultures, participants exhibiting greater cognitive reflection were more likely to view free will as incompatible with causal determinism. We discuss these findings in light of documented cultural differences in the tendency toward dispositional versus situational attributions. (shrink)
Does the Ship of Theseus present a genuine puzzle about persistence due to conflicting intuitions based on “continuity of form” and “continuity of matter” pulling in opposite directions? Philosophers are divided. Some claim that it presents a genuine puzzle but disagree over whether there is a solution. Others claim that there is no puzzle at all since the case has an obvious solution. To assess these proposals, we conducted a cross-cultural study involving nearly 3,000 people across twenty-two countries, speaking eighteen (...) different languages. Our results speak against the proposal that there is no puzzle at all and against the proposal that there is a puzzle but one that has no solution. Our results suggest that there are two criteria—“continuity of form” and “continuity of matter”— that constitute our concept of persistence and these two criteria receive different weightings in settling matters concerning persistence. (shrink)
This article examines whether people share the Gettier intuition in 24 sites, located in 23 countries and across 17 languages. We also consider the possible influence of gender and personality on this intuition with a very large sample size. Finally, we examine whether the Gettier intuition varies across people as a function of their disposition to engage in “reflective” thinking.
Since at least Hume and Kant, philosophers working on the nature of aesthetic judgment have generally agreed that common sense does not treat aesthetic judgments in the same way as typical expressions of subjective preferences—rather, it endows them with intersubjective validity, the property of being right or wrong regardless of disagreement. Moreover, this apparent intersubjective validity has been taken to constitute one of the main explananda for philosophical accounts of aesthetic judgment. But is it really the case that most people (...) spontaneously treat aesthetic judgments as having intersubjective validity? In this paper, we report the results of a cross‐cultural study with over 2,000 respondents spanning 19 countries. Despite significant geographical variations, these results suggest that most people do not treat their own aesthetic judgments as having intersubjective validity. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for theories of aesthetic judgment and the purpose of aesthetics in general. (shrink)
Higher courts sometimes assess the constitutionality of law by working through a concrete case, other times by reasoning about the underlying question in a more abstract way. Prior research has found that the degree of concreteness or abstraction with which an issue is formulated can influence people's prescriptive views: For instance, people often endorse punishment for concrete misdeeds that they would oppose if the circumstances were described abstractly. We sought to understand whether the so-called ‘abstract/concrete paradox’ also jeopardizes the consistency (...) of judicial reasoning. In a series of experiments, both lay and professional judges sometimes reached opposite conclusions when reasoning about concrete cases versus the underlying issues formulated in abstract terms. This effect emerged whether participants reasoned with broad principles, such as human dignity, or narrow rules, and was largest among individuals high in trait empathy. Finally, to understand whether people reflectively endorse the discrepancy between abstract and concrete resolutions, we examined their reactions when evaluating both, either simultaneously or sequentially. These approaches revealed no single pattern across lay and expert populations, or exploratory and confirmatory studies. Taken together, our studies suggest that empathic concern plays a greater role in guiding the judicial resolution of concrete cases than in illuminating judges' professed standards—which may result in concrete decisions in violation of their own abstract principles. (shrink)
Despite pervasive variation in the content of laws, legal theorists and anthropologists have argued that laws share certain abstract features and even speculated that law may be a human universal. In the present report, we evaluate this thesis through an experiment administered in 11 different countries. Are there cross-cultural principles of law? In a between-subjects design, participants (N = 3,054) were asked whether there could be laws that violate certain procedural principles (e.g., laws applied retrospectively or unintelligible laws), and also (...) whether there are any such laws. Confirming our preregistered prediction, people reported that such laws cannot exist, but also (paradoxically) that there are such laws. These results document cross-culturally and –linguistically robust beliefs about the concept of law which defy people's grasp of how legal systems function in practice. (shrink)
Prescriptive rules guide human behavior across various domains of community life, including law, morality, and etiquette. What, speciﬁcally, are rules in the eyes of their subjects, i.e., those who are expected to abide by them? Over the last sixty years, theorists in the philosophy of law have oﬀered a useful framework with which to consider this question. Some, following H. L. A. Hart, argue that a rule’s text at least sometimes suﬃces to determine whether the rule itself covers a case. (...) Others, in the spirit of Lon Fuller, believe that there is no way to understand a rule without invoking its purpose — the benevolent ends which it is meant to advance. In this paper we ask whether people associate rules with their textual formulation or their underlying purpose. We ﬁnd that both text and purpose guide people’s reasoning about the scope of a rule. Overall, a rule’s text more strongly contributed to rule infraction decisions than did its purpose. The balance of these considerations, however, varied across experimental conditions: In conditions favoring a spontaneous judgment, rule interpretation was aﬀected by moral purposes, whereas analytic conditions resulted in a greater adherence to textual interpretations. In sum, our ﬁndings suggest that the philosophical debate between textualism and purposivism partly reﬂects two broader approaches to normative reasoning that vary within and across individuals. Keywords: , the concept of law, rules, legal psychology, Hart, Fuller. (shrink)
There has been considerable debate in legal philosophy about how to attribute purposes to rules. Separately, within cognitive science, there has been a growing body of research concerned with questions about how people ordinarily attribute purposes. Here, we argue that these two separate fields might be connected by experimental jurisprudence. Across four studies, we find evidence for the claim that people use the same criteria to attribute purposes to physical objects and to rules. In both cases, purpose attributions appear to (...) be governed not so much by original intention or by moral value as by current practice. We argue that these findings in the cognitive science of purpose attribution have implications for jurisprudential questions involving purposivist legal interpretation. (shrink)
The proper limit to paternalist regulation of citizens' private lives is a recurring theme in political theory and ethics. In the present study, we examine the role of beliefs about free will and determinism in attitudes toward libertarian versus paternalist policies. Throughout five studies we find that a scientific deterministic worldview reduces opposition toward paternalist policies, independent of the putative influence of political ideology. We suggest that exposure to scientific explanations for patterns in human behavior challenges the notion of personal (...) autonomy and, in turn, undermines libertarian arguments against state paternalism appealing to autonomy and personal choice. (shrink)
This paper approaches legal argumentation from a rhetorical perspective. It discusses the nature of the audiences that are targeted by judges in the legal process. Judicial opinions reach diverse groups of people with very different attitudes and expectations: other judges, lawyers, litigants, concerned citizens, etc. One important way in which these groups differ is that some of them are more likely to be persuaded by legalistic, precedent or statute-based arguments, while others expect judges to decide on grounds of justice or (...) equity. So, judges face the challenge of determining whether they should select particular groups for special attention, or whether they have alternative rhetorical means to approach the problem of audience diversity. One strategy that is likely to be recommended by rhetorical scholars is that judges should not try to accommodate the various preferences of their actual readership, but that they should rather invoke an idealized audience or some version of Chaïm Perelman’s universal audience. However, the paper tries to show that the universal audience is of limited value for a discussion about how judges ought to proceed in the face of audience diversity. In particular, the idea of a universal audience does not help judges to make the choice between a legalistic or an equity-based approach to legal decision-making. By showing that this is so, the paper also raises doubts about the common thought that to invoke the universal audience in law is to appeal to natural law. (shrink)
Recent literature in experimental philosophy has postulated the existence of the abstract/concrete paradox : the tendency to activate inconsistent intuitions depending on whether a problem to be analyzed is framed in abstract terms or is described as a concrete case. One recent study supports the thesis that this effect influences judicial decision-making, including decision-making by professional judges, in areas such as interpretation of constitutional principles and application of clear-cut rules. Here, following the existing literature in legal theory, we argue that (...) the susceptibility to such an effect might depend on whether decision-makers operate in a legal system characterized by the formalist or particularist approach to legal interpretation, with formalist systems being less susceptible to the effect. To test this hypothesis, we compare the results of experimental studies on ACP run on samples from two countries differing in legal culture: Poland and Brazil. The lack of significant differences between those results suggests that ACP is a robust effect in the legal context. (shrink)
O uso de regras prescritivas no campo da fi losofi a prática é abundante, especialmente no campo do direito. O presente artigo pretende fazer uma análise do papel das regras no direito e levantar um aparente paradoxo envolvido na aplicação de regras. Algumas posições possíveis em relação ao paradoxo serão elucidadas. In practical reasoning in general and specially in the legal ﬁ eld, we see an abundance of prescriptive rules. The paper attempts to analyze the role of rules in law, (...) as well as to explore what seems to be a paradox concerning rule application. Some different postures regarding the paradox will be elucidated. (shrink)