Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 351–370 | Cite as

Folk Concepts of Intentional Action in the Contexts of Amoral and Immoral Luck

  • Paulo Sousa
  • Colin Holbrook


This paper concerns a recently discovered, puzzling asymmetry in judgments of whether an action is intentional or not (Knobe, Philosophical Psychology 16:309–324, 2003a; Analysis 63:190–193, b). We report new data replicating the asymmetry in the context of scenarios wherein an agent achieves an amoral or immoral goal due to luck. Participants’ justifications of their judgments of the intentionality of the agent’s action indicate that two distinct folk concepts of intentional action played a role in their judgments. When viewed from this perspective, the puzzle disappears, although the asymmetry remains.


Intentional Action Crime Condition Plan Departure Skill Component Folk Concept 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Cognition and Culture, School of Anthropological StudiesQueen’s UniversityBelfastUK

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