Reversing the side-effect effect: the power of salient norms
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.
KeywordsSide effect Side-effect effect Knobe effect Norms Intentionality
We would like to thank the organizers of the Experiments in Ethical Dilemmas conference (Natalie Gold, Andrew Colman, and Briony Pulford) and the Buffalo Experimental Philosophy Conference (James Beebe, Paul Poenicke, and Neil Otte), where portions of this paper were presented. We would also like to thank Urs Fischbacher, Shaun Nichols, Florian Cova, Zachary Horne, Derek Powell, Jennifer Cole Wright, Alex Voorhoeve, Josh May, Joshua Alexander, Chad Gonnerman, John Waterman, John Turri, Wesley Buckwalter, and Genoveva Martí for their insightful comments and questions. Finally, we would like especially to thank Fiery Cushman for suggesting the methodology in Study II and advising its implementation.
- Adams, F., & Steadman, A. (2007). Folk concepts, surveys, and intentional action. In C. Lumer (Ed.), Intentionality, deliberation, and autonomy: The action-theoretic basis of practical philosophy (pp. 17–33). Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
- Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Hitchcock, C., & Knobe, J. (2009). Cause and norm. Journal of Philosophy, 11, 587–612.Google Scholar
- Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
- Knobe, J. (2010a). Person as scientist, person as moralist. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 315–329.Google Scholar
- Knobe, J. (2010b). Action trees and moral judgment. Topics in Cognitive Science, 2, 555–578.Google Scholar
- Maxwell, S. E., & Delaney, H. D. (2004). Designing and analyzing experiments: A model comparison perspective (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Tannenbaum, D., Ditto, P. H., & Pizarro, D. A. (2007). Different moral values produce different judgments of intentional action. University of California-Irvine, Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar