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Explanation classification depends on understanding: extending the epistemic side-effect effect

Wilkenfeld, Daniel and Lombrozo, Tania (2018) Explanation classification depends on understanding: extending the epistemic side-effect effect. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Our goal in this paper is to experimentally investigate whether folk conceptions of explanation are psychologistic. In particular, are people more likely to classify speech acts as explanations when they cause understanding in their recipient? The empirical evidence that we present suggests this is so. Using the side-effect effect as a marker of mental state ascriptions, we argue that lay judgments of explanatory status are mediated by judgments of a speaker’s and/or audience’s mental states. First, we show that attributions of both understanding and explanation exhibit a side-effect effect. Next, we show that when the speaker’s and audience’s level of understanding is stipulated, the explanation side-effect effect goes away entirely. These results not only extend the side-effect effect to attributions of understanding, they also suggest that attributions of explanation exhibit a side-effect effect because they depend upon attributions of understanding, supporting the idea that folk conceptions of explanation are psychologistic.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Wilkenfeld, Danieldawilk@gmail.com0000-0003-2600-3237
Lombrozo, Tanialombrozo@berkeley.edu
Keywords: Explanation, understanding, side-effect effect, psychologism
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Dr. Daniel Wilkenfeld
Date Deposited: 29 May 2018 13:38
Last Modified: 29 May 2018 13:38
Item ID: 14719
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Psychology
Date: 2018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14719

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