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A Cognitive Approach to Moral Responsibility: The Case of a Failed Attempt to Kill

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Many theoretical claims about the folk concept of moral responsibility coming from the current literature are indeterminate because researchers do not clearly specify the folk concept of moral responsibility in question. The article pursues a cognitive approach to folk concepts that pays special attention to this indeterminacy problem. After addressing the problem, the article provides evidence on folk attributions of moral responsibility in the case a failed attempt to kill that goes against a specific claim coming from the current literature – that the dimension of causation is part of the structure of the folk concept of moral responsibility.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Cognition and Culture, Queen's University, 2–4 Fitzwilliam Street, Belfast BJ7 1NN, UK;, Email:


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