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Title: The True Self and The Situation
Authors: Cullen, Simon
Advisors: Leslie, Sarah-Jane
Rosen, Gideon
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: Attribution
True self
Subjects: Philosophy
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: According to the theory developed here, people's moral attitudes play a fundamental role in determining whether they perceive the cause of an action to lie more within an agent or more in the situation in which the agent finds herself. I show how this view predicts surprising patterns in the attribution literature and I present new empirical studies in its support. I argue that the philosophical notion of self-disclosure (familiar from discussions of moral responsibility) and the person/situation distinction (familiar from social psychology) both pick up on the same bit of underlying folk psychology. This underlying folk psychology is plausibly understood as a manifestation of psychological essentialism---the pervasive cognitive tendency to locate hidden, causally active essences in a wide variety of entities. I consider some implications for theorizing about moral responsibility. Lastly, I apply the mismatch theory to better understand a fascinating feature of our thinking about how determinism and luck bear on responsibility, and I present new studies that confirm the mismatch theory's surprising predictions in this area.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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