Causes and reasons in attribution theory: A conceptual critique

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Abstract

Argues that although the terms cause and reason have both appeared in the attribution theory literature, they have not been adequately distinguished from each other. With the aid of some recent ideas from the philosophy of mind on the cause-reason distinction, a conceptual critique is undertaken of the way these terms have been used by attribution theorists. Two topics are considered: (a) E. E. Jones and R. E. Nisbett's (1972) ideas on actor-observer differences in causal attributions and (b) A. W. Kruglanski's (1975) criticisms of the internal-external distinction and his own endogenous-exogenous reformulation. The conceptual critique ends in a taxonomy of attributions and a plea for greater precision in the use of the terms cause and reason in this area. (37 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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