Cause and Norm

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Journal of Philosophy, Vol: 11, Page: 587-612

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Hitchcock, Christopher; Knobe, Joshua
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article description
A series of recent studies indicate that people's moral judgments can impact their causal intuitions. We offer a new theoretical model to explain these phenomena. At the core of the model is the notion of a *norm* (understood as incorporating both statistical and evaluative elements). It is then suggested that (a) people's judgments about the relevance of counterfactuals depend on norms and (b) people's causal intuitions depend on counterfactual reasoning. Taken together, these two claims make it possible to explain certain puzzling aspects of people's causal cognition.