Philosophical Studies

, Volume 138, Issue 2, pp 291–298 | Cite as

The folk strike back; or, why you didn’t do it intentionally, though it was bad and you knew it

  • Mark T. PhelanEmail author
  • Hagop Sarkissian
Original Paper


Recent and puzzling experimental results suggest that people’s judgments as to whether or not an action was performed intentionally are sensitive to moral considerations. In this paper, we outline these results and evaluate two accounts which purport to explain them. We then describe a recent experiment that allegedly vindicates one of these accounts and present our own findings to show that it fails to do so. Finally, we present additional data suggesting no such vindication could be in the offing and that, in fact, both accounts fail to explain the initial, puzzling results they were purported to explain.


Experimental philosophy Action theory 



We would like to thank Jesse Prinz and an anonymous reviewer for Philosophical Studies for their illuminating comments on previous drafts. We owe special thanks to Joshua Knobe, who offered essential help throughout the process of researching and writing this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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