“Ought Implies Can,” Framing Effects, and “Empirical Refutations”

“Ought Implies Can,” Framing Effects, and “Empirical Refutations” This paper aims to contribute to the current debate about the status of the “Ought Implies Can” (OIC) principle and the growing body of empirical evidence that undermines it. We report the results of an experimental study which show that people judge that agents ought to perform an action even when they also judge that those agents cannot do it and that such “ought” judgments exhibit an actor-observer effect. Because of this actor-observer effect on “ought” judgments and the Duhem-Quine thesis, talk of an “empirical refutation” of OIC is empirically and methodologically unwarranted. What the empirical fact that people attribute moral obligations to unable agents shows is that OIC is not intuitive, not that OIC has been refuted. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophia Springer Journals

“Ought Implies Can,” Framing Effects, and “Empirical Refutations”

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy, general; Epistemology; Ethics; Philosophy of Language; Philosophy of Mind; Philosophy of Science
ISSN
0048-3893
eISSN
1574-9274
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11406-017-9907-z
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper aims to contribute to the current debate about the status of the “Ought Implies Can” (OIC) principle and the growing body of empirical evidence that undermines it. We report the results of an experimental study which show that people judge that agents ought to perform an action even when they also judge that those agents cannot do it and that such “ought” judgments exhibit an actor-observer effect. Because of this actor-observer effect on “ought” judgments and the Duhem-Quine thesis, talk of an “empirical refutation” of OIC is empirically and methodologically unwarranted. What the empirical fact that people attribute moral obligations to unable agents shows is that OIC is not intuitive, not that OIC has been refuted.

Journal

PhilosophiaSpringer Journals

Published: Sep 20, 2017

References

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