Folk concepts, surveys and intentional action

Abstract
In a recent paper, Al Mele (2003) suggests that the Simple View of intentional action is “fiction” because it is “wholly unconstrained” by a widely shared (folk) concept of intentional action. The Simple View (Adams, 1986, McCann, 1986) states that an action is intentional only if intended. As evidence that the Simple View is not in accord with the folk notion of intentional action, Mele appeals to recent surveys of folk judgments by Joshua Knobe (2003, 2004a, 2004b). Knobe’s surveys appear to show that the folk judge unintended but known side effects of actions to be performed intentionally. In this paper we will reject Mele’s suggestion that the Simple View is “fiction.” We will also discuss the relationship between surveys and philosophical theories, and the abilities of surveys to access folk core concepts. We will argue that considerations of both fail to support Mele’s suggestion
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Joshua Knobe (2010). Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):315.

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