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

Article

Abstract

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.

References

  1. Adams, F. 1986. Intention and intentional action: The simple view. Mind and Language 1: 281–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams, F., and A. Steadman. 2004. Intentional action in ordinary language: Core concept or pragmatic understanding? Analysis 64: 173–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alicke, M. D. 2008. Blaming badly. Journal of Cognition and Culture 8(2): 179–186.Google Scholar
  4. Bratman, M. 1987. Intention, plans, and practical reason. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Carston, R. 2002. Thoughts and utterances: The pragmatics of explicit communication. Oxford: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cushman, F., and A.R. Mele. 2008. Intentional action: Two-and-a-half folk concepts? In Experimental philosophy, ed. J. Knobe and S. Nichols. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Davidson, D. 1980. Essays on actions and events. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  8. Feinberg, J. 1970. Doing and deserving. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Harman, G. 1976. Practical reasoning. Review of Metaphysics 79: 431–463.Google Scholar
  10. Knobe, J. 2003a. Intentional action in folk psychology: An experimental investigation. Philosophical Psychology 16: 309–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Knobe, J. 2003b. Intentional action and side-effects in ordinary language. Analysis 63: 190–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Knobe, J. 2006. The concept of intentional action: a case study in the uses of folk psychology. Philosophical Studies 130: 203–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Laurence, S., and E. Margolis. 1999. Concepts and cognitive science. In Concepts: Core readings, ed. E. Margolis and S. Laurence. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  14. Leslie, A.M., J. Knobe, and A. Cohen. 2006. Acting intentionally and the side-effect effect: ‘Theory of mind’ and moral judgment. Psychological Science 17: 421–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Machery, E. 2008. The folk concept of intentional action: Philosophical and experimental issues. Mind and Language 23: 165–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Machery, E. 2009. Doing without concepts. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Malle, B.F. 2006. Intentionality, morality, and their relationship in human judgment. Journal of Cognition and Culture 6: 61–86.Google Scholar
  18. Malle, B.F., and J. Knobe. 1997. The folk concept of intentionality. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 33: 101–121. Reprinted in W. Lesko (ed.) Readings in Social Psychology: General, Classic and Contemporary Selections. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mallon, R. 2008. Knobe vs. Machery: Testing the trade-off hypothesis. Mind and Language 23: 247–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McCann, H.J. 2005. Intentional action and intending: Recent empirical studies. Philosophical Psychology 18: 737–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mele, A. 1992. Springs of action. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Mele, A. 2001. Acting intentionally: Probing folk notions. In Intentions and intentionality: Foundations of social cognition, ed. B.F. Malle, L.J. Moses, and D.A. Baldwin. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  23. Mele, A., and F. Cushman. 2007. Intentional action, folk judgments, and stories: Sorting things out. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31: 184–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mele, A., and P. Moser. 1994. Intentional action. Nous 28: 39–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nadelhoffer, T. 2005. Skill, luck, control, and intentional action. Philosophical Psychology 18: 341–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nichols, S., and J. Ulatowski. 2007. Intuitions and individual differences: The Knobe effect revisited. Mind and Language 22(4): 346–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rosch, E. 2010. Concepts. In The Cambridge encyclopedia of the language sciences, ed. P.C. Hogan. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. von Wright, G. H. 1971. Explanation and understanding. Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Zimmerman, M. 1984. An essay on human action. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations