David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):270-279 (2004)
It is often implied, and sometimes explicitly asserted, that folk psychology is best understood as a kind of predictive device. The key contention of this widely held view is that people apply folk-psychological concepts because the application of these concepts enables them to predict future behavior. If we know what an agent believes, desires, intends, etc., we can make a pretty good guess about what he or she will do next. It seems to me that this picture is not quite right. In a series of recent papers, my colleagues and I have presented data that suggests that moral considerations actually play an important role in folk psychology (Knobe 2003a; 2003b; 2004; Knobe & Burra forthcoming; Knobe & Mendlow forthcoming). These findings do not sit well with the view according to which folk psychology is best understood as a predictive device. It appears that folk psychology might be better understood as a kind of multi-purpose tool. It is used not only in making predictive judgments but also in making moral judgments, and both of these uses appear to have shaped the fundamental competencies that underlie it. One of the most important forms of evidence in this debate comes from studies of the distinction people draw between intentional and unintentional behavior. These studies indicate that people’s intuitions as to whether or not a behavior was performed intentionally can be influenced by their beliefs about the moral status of the behavior..
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Citations of this work BETA
Joshua Knobe (2010). Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):315.
Brian Robinson, Paul Stey & Mark Alfano (2013). Virtue and Vice Attributions in the Business Context: An Experimental Investigation. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 113 (4):649-661.
Dean Pettit & Joshua Knobe (2009). The Pervasive Impact of Moral Judgment. Mind and Language 24 (5):586-604.
James R. Beebe & Wesley Buckwalter (2010). The Epistemic Side-Effect Effect. Mind and Language 25 (4):474-498.
James R. Beebe & Mark Jensen (2012). Surprising Connections Between Knowledge and Action: The Robustness of the Epistemic Side-Effect Effect. Philosophical Psychology 25 (5):689 - 715.
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Joshua Knobe (2008). Folk Psychology: Science and Morals. In Daniel Hutto & Matthew Ratcliffe (eds.), Folk Psychology Reassessed. Springer Press.
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