David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Cognition 117 (2):139-150 (2010)
Extant models of moral judgment assume that an action’s intentionality precedes assignments of blame. Knobe (2003b) challenged this fundamental order and proposed instead that the badness or blameworthiness of an action directs (and thus unduly biases) people’s intentionality judgments. His and other researchers’ studies suggested that blameworthy actions are considered intentional even when the agent lacks skill (e.g., killing somebody with a lucky shot) whereas equivalent neutral actions are not (e.g., luckily hitting a bull’s-eye). The present ﬁve studies offer an alternative account of these provocative ﬁndings. We suggest that people see the morally signiﬁcant action examined in previous studies (killing) as accomplished by a basic action (pressing the trigger) for which an unskilled agent still has sufﬁcient skill. Studies 1 through 3 show that when this basic action is performed unskillfully or is absent, people are far less likely to view the killing as intentional, demonstrating that intentionality judgments, even about immoral actions, are guided by skill information. Studies 4 and 5 further show that a neutral action such as hitting the bull’s-eye is more difﬁcult than killing and that difﬁcult actions are less often judged intentional. When difﬁculty is held constant, people’s intentionality judgments are fully responsive to skill information regardless of moral valence. The present studies thus speak against the hypothesis of a moral evaluation bias in intentionality judgments and instead document people’s sensitivity to subtle features of human action.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Joshua Knobe (2003). Intentional Action and Side Effects in Ordinary Language. Analysis 63 (3):190–194.
Joshua Knobe (2010). Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):315.
Shaun Nichols & Joseph Ulatowski (2007). Intuitions and Individual Differences: The Knobe Effect Revisited. Mind and Language 22 (4):346–365.
Dean Pettit & Joshua Knobe (2009). The Pervasive Impact of Moral Judgment. Mind and Language 24 (5):586-604.
Fiery Cushman (2008). Crime and Punishment: Distinguishing the Roles of Causal and Intentional Analyses in Moral Judgment. Cognition 108 (2):353-380.
Citations of this work BETA
Jonathan Phillips & Alex Shaw (2014). Manipulating Morality: Third‐Party Intentions Alter Moral Judgments by Changing Causal Reasoning. Cognitive Science 38 (8):1320-1347.
Jonathan Phillips, Jamie B. Luguri & Joshua Knobe (2015). Unifying Morality’s Influence on Non-Moral Judgments: The Relevance of Alternative Possibilities. Cognition 145:30-42.
Steve Guglielmo, Andrew E. Monroe & Bertram F. Malle (2009). At the Heart of Morality Lies Folk Psychology. Inquiry 52 (5):449-466.
Lilian O'Brien (2014). Side Effects and Asymmetry in Act-Type Attribution. Philosophical Psychology 28 (7):1012-1025.
Zachary Martin (2013). Causing Human Actions: New Perspectives on the Causal Theory of Action. Philosophical Psychology 26 (6):925 - 928.
Similar books and articles
Steve Guglielmo & Bertram F. Malle (2010). Can Unintended Side Effects Be Intentional? Resolving a Controversy Over Intentionality and Morality. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 36:1635-1647.
Sandra Pellizzoni, Vittorio Girotto & Luca Surian (2010). Beliefs and Moral Valence Affect Intentionality Attributions: The Case of Side Effects. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):201-209.
Thomas Nadelhoffer (2005). Skill, Luck, Control, and Intentional Action. Philosophical Psychology 18 (3):341 – 352.
Tiziana Zalla & Marion Leboyer (2011). Judgment of Intentionality and Moral Evaluation in Individuals with High Functioning Autism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (4):681-698.
Kate Falkenstien (2013). Explaining the Effect of Morality on Intentionality of Lucky Actions: The Role of Underlying Questions. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (2):293-308.
Thomas Nadelhoffer (2004). The Butler Problem Revisited. Analysis 64 (3):277–284.
Bertram F. Malle (2006). Intentionality, Morality, and Their Relationship in Human Judgment. Journal of Cognition and Culture 6:61-86.
Kate Falkenstien (forthcoming). Explaining the Effect of Morality on Intentionality: The Role of Underlying Questions. Review of Philosophy and Psychology.
Joshua Knobe (2010). Action Trees and Moral Judgment. Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (3):555-578.
Steven Sverdlik (2004). Intentionality and Moral Judgments in Commonsense Thought About Action. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):224-236.
Florian Cova (2013). Unconsidered Intentional Actions: An Assessment of Scaife and Webber's 'Consideration Hypothesis'. Journal of Moral Philosophy (1):1-22.
Florian Cova & Hichem Naar (2012). Side-Effect Effect Without Side Effects: The Pervasive Impact of Moral Considerations on Judgments of Intentionality. Philosophical Psychology 25 (6):837-854.
Chandra Sekhar Sripada (2010). The Deep Self Model and Asymmetries in Folk Judgments About Intentional Action. Philosophical Studies 151 (2):159-176.
Alessandro Lanteri (2009). Judgements of Intentionality and Moral Worth: Experimental Challenges to Hindriks. Philosophical Quarterly 59 (237):713-720.
Jennifer Nado (2008). Effects of Moral Cognition on Judgments of Intentionality. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (4):709-731.
Added to index2010-11-27
Total downloads64 ( #51,529 of 1,725,571 )
Recent downloads (6 months)12 ( #56,133 of 1,725,571 )
How can I increase my downloads?