Philosophical Studies

, Volume 172, Issue 1, pp 177–206

Reversing the side-effect effect: the power of salient norms


DOI: 10.1007/s11098-014-0283-2

Cite this article as:
Robinson, B., Stey, P. & Alfano, M. Philos Stud (2015) 172: 177. doi:10.1007/s11098-014-0283-2


In the last decade, experimental philosophers have documented systematic asymmetries in the attributions of mental attitudes to agents who produce different types of side effects. We argue that this effect is driven not simply by the violation of a norm, but by salient-norm violation. As evidence for this hypothesis, we present two new studies in which two conflicting norms are present, and one or both of them is raised to salience. Expanding one’s view to these additional cases presents, we argue, a fuller conception of the side-effect effect, which can be reversed by reversing which norm is salient.


Side effect Side-effect effect Knobe effect Norms Intentionality 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyGrand Valley State UniversityAllendaleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA
  3. 3.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

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