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Ordinary causal attributions, norms, and gradability


Olier, Jan Garcia; Kneer, Markus (2022). Ordinary causal attributions, norms, and gradability. PhilPapers GAROCA-7, University of Zurich.

Abstract

There is a large literature exploring the effect of norms on the attribution of causation. Empirical research on this so-called “norm effect” has predominantly focused on two data points: A situation in which an agent violates a salient norm, and one in which there is no violation of a salient norm. Since the phenomenon is understood in bivalent terms (norm infraction vs. no norm infraction), most explanations thereof have the same structure. In this paper, we report several studies (total N=479) according to which perceived causation depends on the strength of the norm violated – whether strength is conceived in terms of the norm’s strictness, explicitness or associated punishment. Consequently, the norm effect, properly conceived, is not bivalent but graded in nature, the standard data points (norm violation vs. no norm violation) are but a special case of a broader phenomenon. This, we argue, puts pressure on many, if not most, of the current explanations of the norm effect on causation.

Abstract

There is a large literature exploring the effect of norms on the attribution of causation. Empirical research on this so-called “norm effect” has predominantly focused on two data points: A situation in which an agent violates a salient norm, and one in which there is no violation of a salient norm. Since the phenomenon is understood in bivalent terms (norm infraction vs. no norm infraction), most explanations thereof have the same structure. In this paper, we report several studies (total N=479) according to which perceived causation depends on the strength of the norm violated – whether strength is conceived in terms of the norm’s strictness, explicitness or associated punishment. Consequently, the norm effect, properly conceived, is not bivalent but graded in nature, the standard data points (norm violation vs. no norm violation) are but a special case of a broader phenomenon. This, we argue, puts pressure on many, if not most, of the current explanations of the norm effect on causation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology and the Study of Religion > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Causation, Norms, Gradability, Bias, Responsibility, Blame, Counterfactuals
Language:English
Date:January 2022
Deposited On:17 Jan 2022 08:05
Last Modified:08 Jan 2023 12:16
Series Name:PhilPapers
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Related URL. An embargo period may apply.
Related URLs:https://philpapers.org/rec/GAROCA-7 (Publisher)
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPZ00P1_179912
  • : Project TitleReading Guilty Minds
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