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Structure and Norms: Investigating the Pattern of Effects for Causal Attributions

Sytsma, Justin (2019) Structure and Norms: Investigating the Pattern of Effects for Causal Attributions. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Research indicates that norms matter for ordinary causal attributions. Across a range of cases in which two agents jointly bring about an outcome by performing symmetric actions, but with one violating a norm while the other does not, causal ratings are higher for the norm-violating agent. A number of competing explanations of this effect have been offered in the literature. In a pair of recent papers, Kominsky et al. (2015) and Icard et al. (2017) make a strong case for one of these accounts—the counterfactual view—making novel predictions about the pattern of effects seen when the original type of case is expanded to include a contrast case without norms or when the causal structure is changed. They argue that while the counterfactual view is able to explain each of the predicted effects, the alternative accounts are only able to explain some of them. In this paper, I argue that this undersells the competing accounts. Further, I present new evidence suggesting that the expanded pattern of effects is quite different than predicted, and that it in fact coheres better with prominent alternative accounts in the literature than the counterfactual view.


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Item Type: Preprint
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Sytsma, Justin
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Depositing User: Justin Sytsma
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2019 04:54
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2019 04:54
Item ID: 16626
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Date: 8 November 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16626

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