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Causation, foreseeability, and norms


Güver, Levin; Kneer, Markus (2023). Causation, foreseeability, and norms. In: Proceedings of the 45th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Sydney, 26 July 2023 - 29 July 2023. Cognitive Science Society, 888-895.

Abstract

A growing body of literature has revealed ordinary causal judgement to be sensitive to normative factors, such that a norm-violating agent is regarded more causal than their non-norm-violating counterpart. In this paper, we explore two competing explanations for this phenomenon: the Responsibility View and the Bias View. The Bias View, but not the Responsibility View, predicts features peripheral to the agent’s responsibility to impact causal attributions. In a series of three preregistered experiments (N = 1162), we present new evidence that the Norm Effect arises from such peripheral features, namely from nonpertinent or entirely silly norm violations. Furthermore, we show that this effect cannot be explained by recourse to the agent’s foreknowledge or desire of the outcome, nor by its foreseeability: the Norm Effect arises even when participants judge the norm-violating agent’s doing as equally foreseeable. This, we argue, provides evidence in favour of the Bias View.

Abstract

A growing body of literature has revealed ordinary causal judgement to be sensitive to normative factors, such that a norm-violating agent is regarded more causal than their non-norm-violating counterpart. In this paper, we explore two competing explanations for this phenomenon: the Responsibility View and the Bias View. The Bias View, but not the Responsibility View, predicts features peripheral to the agent’s responsibility to impact causal attributions. In a series of three preregistered experiments (N = 1162), we present new evidence that the Norm Effect arises from such peripheral features, namely from nonpertinent or entirely silly norm violations. Furthermore, we show that this effect cannot be explained by recourse to the agent’s foreknowledge or desire of the outcome, nor by its foreseeability: the Norm Effect arises even when participants judge the norm-violating agent’s doing as equally foreseeable. This, we argue, provides evidence in favour of the Bias View.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology and the Study of Religion > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Bias, blame, causation, experimental philosophy, foreseeability, law, negligence, norms
Language:English
Event End Date:29 July 2023
Deposited On:07 Aug 2023 11:13
Last Modified:07 Aug 2023 11:13
Publisher:Cognitive Science Society
Additional Information:Preprint-DOI: https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/ur7ht
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Related URLs:https://philpapers.org/rec/GVECFA (Publisher)
  • Content: Accepted Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)