It is human nature to wonder how things might have turned out differently--either for the better or for the worse. For the past two decades psychologists have been intrigued by this phenomenon, which they call counterfactual thinking. Specifically, researchers have sought to answer the "big" questions: Why do people have such a strong propensity to generate counterfactuals, and what functions does counterfactual thinking serve? What are the determinants of counterfactual thinking, and what are its adaptive and psychological consequences? This important (...) work brings together a collection of thought-provoking papers by social and cognitive psychologists who have made important theoretical and empirical contributions to our understanding of this topic. The essays in this volume contain novel theoretical insights, and, in many cases descriptions of previously unpublished empirical studies. The Psychology of Counterfactual Thinking provides an excellent overview of this fascinating topic for researchers, as well as advanced undergraduates and graduates in psychology--particularly those with an interest in social cognition, social judgment, decision judgment, decision making, thinking and reasoning. (shrink)
The significance of counterfactual thinking in the causal judgement process has been emphasized for nearly two decades, yet no previous research has directly compared the relative effect of thinking counterfactually versus factually on causal judgement. Three experiments examined this comparison by manipulating the task frame used to focus participants' thinking about a target event. Prior to making judgements about causality, preventability, blame, and control, participants were directed to think about a target actor either in counterfactual terms (what the actor could (...) have done to change the outcome) or in factual terms (what the actor had done that led to the outcome). In each experiment, the effect of counterfactual thinking did not differ reliably from the effect of factual thinking on causal judgement. Implications for research on causal judgement and mental representation are discussed. (shrink)
Historically, cognitivists considered moral choices to be determined by analytic processes. Recent theories, however, have emphasized the role of intuitive processes in determining moral choices. We propose that the engagement of analytic and intuitive processes is contingent on the type of tradeoff being considered. Specifically, when a tradeoff necessarily violates a moral principle no matter what choice is made, as in tragic tradeoffs, its resolution should result in greater moral conflict and less confidence in choice than when the tradeoff offers (...) a moral escape route, as in taboo tradeoffs. We manipulated tradeoff type in between subjects design and confirmed the prediction that tragic tradeoffs prompt more conflict and less confidence than taboo tradeoffs. The findings further revealed that moral conflict mediated the effect of tradeoff type on confidence. The study sheds light on the manner in which human minds resolve moral problems involving social agents. (shrink)
Stanley Milgram's work on obedience to authority is social psychology's most influential contribution to theorizing about Holocaust perpetration. The gist of Milgram's claims is that Holocaust perpetrators were just following orders out of a sense of obligation to their superiors. Milgram, however, never undertook a scholarly analysis of how his obedience experiments related to the Holocaust. The author first discusses the major theoretical limitations of Milgram's position and then examines the implications of Milgram's experimental manipulations for Holocaust theorizing, contrasting a (...) specific case of Holocaust perpetration by Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police. It is concluded that Milgram's empirical findings, in fact, do not support his position - one that essentially constitutes an obedience alibi. The article ends with a discussion of some of the social dangers of the obedience alibi. (shrink)
In The Rational Imagination, Byrne proposes a mental models account of why causal and counterfactual thinking often focus on different antecedents. This review critically examines the two central propositions of her account, finding both only weakly defensible. Byrne's account is contrasted with judgment dissociation theory, which offers a functional explanation for differences in the focus of causal and counterfactual thinking.
Consistent with Barbey & Sloman (B&S), it is proposed that performance on Bayesian inference tasks is well explained by nested sets theory (NST). However, contrary to those authors' view, it is proposed that NST does better by dispelling with dual-systems assumptions. This article examines why, and sketches out a series of NST's core principles, which were not previously defined.
This research examined whether youth's forecasted risk taking is best predicted by a compensatory (namely, subjective expected utility) or non-compensatory (e.g., single-factor) model. Ninety youth assessed the importance of perceived benefits, importance of perceived drawbacks, subjective probability of benefits, and subjective probability of drawbacks for 16 risky behaviors clustered evenly into recreational and health/safety domains. In both domains, there was strong support for a noncompensatory model in which only the perceived importance of the benefits of engaging in a risky behavior (...) predicted youths' forecasted engagement in risky behavior. The study overcomes earlier methodological weaknesses by fully decomposing participants' assessments into importance and probability aspects for both benefits and drawbacks. As such, the findings provide clear evidence in support of a boundedrationality perspective on youth decision making regarding risk taking. (shrink)
The rationality debate centers on the meaning of deviations of decision makers' responses from the predictions/prescriptions of normative models. But for the debate to have significance, the meaning and functions of normative analysis must be clear. Presently, they are not, and the debate's persistence owes much to conceptual blur. An attempt is made here to clarify the concept of normative analysis.
Theories of blame posit that observers consider causality, controllability, and foreseeability when assigning blame to actors. The present study examined which of these factors, either on their own or in interaction, predicted blame assigned to actors in a case of harm caused by negligence. The findings revealed that only causal impact ratings predicted blame. The findings also revealed a novel form of asymmetric discounting: the causal impact of a negligent actor was used to discount blame assigned to an innocent actor, (...) but the causal impact of the innocent actor was not used to discount the blame assigned to the negligent actor. (shrink)
A collection of essays by a group of international scholars from Israel, England, the United States, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, and Argentina testify to the humane influence of Baumgardt. There is little that unites the subject matter of these essays and only one deals explicitly with the thought of Baumgardt. A bibliography of Baumgardt's writings is included.—R. J. B.
Basson's introduction to Hume follows the pattern which has led to successful treatments of Aquinas and Kant in this series: he limits himself almost exclusively to exposition and minimal criticism, apparently assuming that the reader will not be able to obtain or to follow the original text.--R. F. T.
Intended to complement the reading of Hume's own works in a philosophy course, this is a collection of recent journal articles on Hume's thought and relevant philosophical problems. Included are essays by Flew, Price, Strawson, Broad, Gasking, Penelhum, and Popper. This book should prove useful in making readily available discussions relating Hume's philosophy to contemporary problems.—R. J. W.
The nine essays in this volume resulted from a symposium on "criminal justice and punishment" at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, in response to concerns about the workability and defensibility of any system of punishment. Among the contributors are Professors of Philosophy, Law, and Government, and the executive director of a Law Enforcement Commission. What emerges as the central focus of the book is a predominant interest in "retributivism." As J. B. Cederblom writes in the introduction, the retributive or (...) "just deserts" theory of punishment has come to dominate at the present time. The extent to which the retributivist position is promoted in opposition to an indistinct representation of utilitarianism, makes the book less challenging as a statement of the retributive position on punishment. Without a doubt, the more recent works of R. M. Hare and David Lyons, among others writing on utilitarian theory, do much to make easy claims against the theory appear facile if not naive. It is interesting that the bibliography does not refer to Hare’s work and mentions only one essay by Lyons. This is not to condemn the book, however, for it serves an important role in reawakening philosophers to the importance of a long-standing debate with a revived and healthy retributivism. But it is a warning that it is oftentimes too easy to defend a position when the opposition is not represented at the hearing. (shrink)
Sir David Ross, now nearing his eightieth birthday has published another of his valuable critical texts, provided, like its predecessors, with a commentary. He has made full use of the contributions of Drossaert Lulofs, Forster and Nuyens, at the same time judging them with an independent mind and adding views and arguments of his own. This book greatly facilitates the study of these physiological-psychological treatises which form so indispensable a supplement to the De Anima. --R. W.
Conformably to the practice of the series to which this edition belongs, the critical apparatus accompanying the Greek text is simplified, reporting only the readings of the six oldest manuscripts, except for eighteen passages on which the readings are given more fully, as samples. In his Latin preface Sir David briefly evaluates the Greek commentators and reports the contributions of the Western editors, particularly Torstrik. In the text he proposes a number of readings of his own, and his edition (...) will be of value to scholars as well as to students.--R. W. (shrink)
The essays in philosophical logic collected in this volume are dedicated to Henry S. Leonard who was one of the first American philosophers to urge the application of modern logic to non-mathematical areas. Leonard also inspired the development of certain areas of contemporary philosophical logic discussed in some of the papers of this volume. This is especially clear in the case of free, or presupposition free, logics which Leonard's early work on a logic of existence inspired. In one essay of (...) this volume Bas C. Van Frassen further develops his work on the semantics of free logic. In another, Milton Fisk relates free logic to modal logic, suggesting a new semantics of strength to deal with various problems in the area and in a third essay, Karel Lambert relates free logic to certain logical puzzles about quantum theory. Leonard was also one of the first to entertain the idea of and discuss a logic of questions and an erotetic logic or logic of interests. The volume contains essays on these topics by Nuel D. Belnap and David Harrah. Leonard's interest in modal logic is reflected in Fisk's article as well as in an article by Richmond Thomason on modal logic and metaphysics. His interest in epistemic logic is seen in an essay on the logic of belief by Jon Vickers and an essay by Hintikka applying the logic of belief and knowledge to problems about the ontological argument. In addition to these essays, there are five others of high quality on diverse topics: R. M. Martin on intentions, Wilfrid Sellars on the metaphysics of the person, R. M. Chisholm on agency, Frederick Fitch on combinatory logic and negative numbers, and H. E. Hendry and G. J. Massey on Sheffer functions. This is a worthy memorial to a quietly influential American philosopher.--R. H. K. (shrink)
Although interest in the philosophy of the Oxford idealist Robin George Collingwood has been growing steadily during the past two decades, his political thought has up until now been all but forgotten. David Boucher in his book The Social and Political Thought of R. G. Collingwood has set out to rectify the situation by attempting to show that Collingwood’s political philosophy as well as his more widely recognized views on history and aesthetics deserve some serious attention from today’s philosophers.
Some things are pervasive and yet elusive. If it can be agreed that the concept of my title and its instances are of this kind, then the observation may serve to justify the present enterprise. The elusiveness of authority is that so often pursued in philosophical enterprise, namely the repeated confident use of a general term by even the unsophisticated, accompanied by the Socratic puzzlement that sets in as soon as a rationale or account of this use is sought. Such (...) puzzlement in the case of the concept of authority is likely to provoke a Cephalitic reaction ). (shrink)
The difficulty of ascribing metaphysical predicates such as absoluteness, necessity and perfection to God while simultaneously ascribing personal predicates such as compassion, freedom and agency has often been noted. Most efforts to resolve this dilemma have tended to fall into one of three categories: a merely verbal solution such as that God is ‘compassionate in terms of our experience but…not so in terms of [God's] own’; the univocal and unqualified ascription of the metaphysical predicates to God coupled with equivocation with (...) respect to the personal predicates which results in the final elimination of the latter; the fideistic denial that intelligible language is applicable to God. Unfortunately, none of these is satisfactory. The first solution is seen to be but a version of the second, and it is arguable that the second is, as Feuerbach contends, tantamount to a ‘subtle, disguised atheism’, since ‘to deny all the qualities of a being is equivalent to denying the being himself’ or, alternatively, ‘an existence in general, an existence without qualities, is an insipidity, an absurdity’. The third ‘solution’ is no better and is hardly more than an evasive tactic. (shrink)