Folk Psychology and Moral Evaluation

Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):237-251 (2004)
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Assessments of an action done intentionally, as we might expect, influence judgments of moral responsibility. What we don't expect is the converse--judgments of moral responsibility influencing assessments of whether an action was done intentionally. Yet this is precisely how people decide, according to Knobe (2003, 2004) and Mendlow (2004) and Nadelhoffer (2004a). I evaluate whether the studies actually support this biasing effect. I argue that the studies are at best inconclusive and that even if they demonstrated that people fall under the biasing effect, such tendencies ought to have no bearing upon philosophical analyses of the concept of intentional action.

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Julie Yoo
California State University, Northridge


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