Philosophical Studies

, Volume 171, Issue 2, pp 251–277 | Cite as

Demoralizing causation

  • David DanksEmail author
  • David Rose
  • Edouard Machery


There have recently been a number of strong claims that normative considerations, broadly construed, influence many philosophically important folk concepts and perhaps are even a constitutive component of various cognitive processes. Many such claims have been made about the influence of such factors on our folk notion of causation. In this paper, we argue that the strong claims found in the recent literature on causal cognition are overstated, as they are based on one narrow type of data about a particular type of causal cognition; the extant data do not warrant any wide-ranging conclusions about the pervasiveness of normative considerations in causal cognition. Of course, almost all empirical investigations involve some manner of ampliative inference, and so we provide novel empirical results demonstrating that there are types of causal cognition that do not seem to be influenced by moral considerations.


Causal judgment Normative considerations Causal reasoning Causation Moral judgment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Philosophy & PsychologyCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  3. 3.Department of History & Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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