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The Folk Concept of Intentional Action: Empirical approaches

In Wesley Buckwalter & Justin Sytsma (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy (forthcoming)

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  1. Evaluative Effects on Knowledge Attributions.James R. Beebe - 2016 - In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), A Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Blackwell. pp. 359-367.
    Experimental philosophers have investigated various ways in which non‐epistemic evaluations can affect knowledge attributions. For example, several teams of researchers (Beebe and Buckwalter 2010; Beebe and Jensen 2012; Schaffer and Knobe 2012; Beebe and Shea 2013; Buckwalter 2014b; Turri 2014) report that the goodness or badness of an agent’s action can affect whether the agent is taken to have certain kinds of knowledge. These findings raise important questions about how patterns of folk knowledge attributions should influence philosophical theorizing about knowledge.
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  • Investigating Conceptions of Intentional Action by Analyzing Participant Generated Scenarios.Alexander Skulmowski, Andreas Bunge, Bret R. Cohen, Barbara A. K. Kreilkamp & Nicole Troxler - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology 6.
    We describe and report on results of employing a new method for analyzing lay conceptions of intentional and unintentional action. Instead of asking people for their conceptual intuitions with regard to construed scenarios, we asked our participants to come up with their own scenarios and to explain why these are examples of intentional or unintentional actions. By way of content analysis, we extracted contexts and components that people associated with these action types. Our participants associated unintentional actions predominantly with bad (...)
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  • Mens Rea Ascription, Expertise and Outcome Effects: Professional Judges Surveyed.Markus Kneer & Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde - 2017 - Cognition 169:139-146.
    A coherent practice of mens rea (‘guilty mind’) ascription in criminal law presupposes a concept of mens rea which is insensitive to the moral valence of an action’s outcome. For instance, an assessment of whether an agent harmed another person intentionally should be unaffected by the severity of harm done. Ascriptions of intentionality made by laypeople, however, are subject to a strong outcome bias. As demonstrated by the Knobe effect, a knowingly incurred negative side effect is standardly judged intentional, whereas (...)
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  • Does Non-Moral Ignorance Exculpate? Situational Awareness and Attributions of Blame and Forgiveness.Alicia Kissinger-Knox, Patrick Aragon & Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (2):161-179.
    In this paper, we set out to test empirically an idea that many philosophers find intuitive, namely that non-moral ignorance can exculpate. Many philosophers find it intuitive that moral agents are responsible only if they know the particular facts surrounding their action. Our results show that whether moral agents are aware of the facts surrounding their action does have an effect on people’s attributions of blame, regardless of the consequences or side effects of the agent’s actions. In general, it was (...)
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  • Perspective and Epistemic State Ascriptions.Markus Kneer - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (2):313-341.
    This article explores whether perspective taking has an impact on the ascription of epistemic states. To do so, a new method is introduced which incites participants to imagine themselves in the position of the protagonist of a short vignette and to judge from her perspective. In a series of experiments, perspective proves to have a significant impact on belief ascriptions, but not on knowledge ascriptions. For belief, perspective is further found to moderate the epistemic side-effect effect significantly. It is hypothesized (...)
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  • Cold Side-Effect Effect: Affect Does Not Mediate the Influence of Moral Considerations in Intentionality Judgments.Rodrigo Díaz - 2017 - Frontiers in Psychology 8:295.
    Research has consistently shown that people consider harmful side effects of an action more intentional than helpful side effects. This phenomenon is known as the side- effect effect (SEE), which refers to the influence of moral considerations in judgments of intentionality and other non-moral concepts. There is an ongoing debate about how to explain this asymmetric pattern of judgment and the psychological factors involved in it. It has been posited that affective reactions to agents that bring about harmful side- effects (...)
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  • Moral Asymmetries in Judgments of Agency Withstand Ludicrous Causal Deviance.Paulo Sousa, Colin Holbrook & Lauren Swiney - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology 6.
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  • “The Group Knobe Effect”: Evidence That People Intuitively Attribute Agency and Responsibility to Groups.John Andrew Michael & András Szigeti - 2018 - Philosophical Explorations 22 (1):44-61.
    In the current paper, we present and discuss a series of experiments in which we investigated people’s willingness to ascribe intentions, as well as blame and praise, to groups. The experiments draw upon the so-called “Knobe Effect”. Knobe [2003. “Intentional action and side effects in ordinary language.” Analysis 63: 190–194] found that the positiveness or negativeness of side-effects of actions influences people’s assessment of whether those side-effects were brought about intentionally, and also that people are more willing to assign blame (...)
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  • Intentional Action and the Frame-of-Mind Argument: New Experimental Challenges to Hindriks.Florian Cova - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (1):35-53.
    Based on a puzzling pattern in our judgements about intentional action, Knobe [. “Intentional Action and Side-Effects in Ordinary Language.” Analysis 63: 190–194] has claimed that these judgements are shaped by our moral judgements and evaluations. However, this claim goes directly against a key conceptual intuition about intentional action – the “frame-of-mind condition”, according to which judgements about intentional action are about the agent’s frame-of-mind and not about the moral value of his action. To preserve this intuition Hindriks [. “Intentional (...)
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