chapter  18
Moral, Cognitive, and Social: The Nature of Blame
Pages 20

B lame is a moral judgment that has a cognitive and a social nature. We first focus on the cognitive side and introduce a theoretical model of blame that integrates insights and evidence from extant research. Within this model, we demonstrate the critical role of such concepts as agent, intentionality, and obligation-all of which are grounded in people’s theory of mind. We then contrast two views on the ordering of blame and theory of mind based inferences: blame-late models, which claim that blame follows mental state inferences; and blame-early models, which claim that the opposite order holds. After integrating these two views within our model, we turn to two eminently social topics of moral judgment: blaming as a social act; and blaming of group agents. We suggest that our model of cognitive blame provides a fruitful framework for both of these topics, thus highlighting the intimate connection between blame as a cognitive phenomenon and blame as a social phenomenon.