Three-and-a-half folk concepts of intentional action

Philosophical Studies 158 (1):17-30 (2012)
Fiery Cushman and Alfred Mele recently proposed a ‘two-and-a-half rules’ theory of folk intentionality. They suggested that laypersons attribute intentionality employing: one rule based on desire, one based on belief, and another principle based on moral judgment, which may either reflect a folk concept (and so count as a third rule) or a bias (and so not count as a rule proper) and which they provisionally count as ‘half a rule’. In this article, I discuss some cases in which an agent is judged as having neither belief nor desire to bring about an action, and yet laypersons find the agent’s action to be intentional. Many lay responses apparently follow a rule, but many other seem biased. The contribution of this study is two-fold: by addressing actions performed without desire or belief, it expands Mele and Cushman’s account; it also helps discriminate between a two-rules and a three-rules theory. As a conclusion, I argue in favor of a three-and-a-half concepts theory
Keywords Action theory  Experimental philosophy  Folk concepts  Knobe effect  Intentionality
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9664-3
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,201
External links
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
Michael Bratman (1987). Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason. Center for the Study of Language and Information.
Joshua Knobe (2007). Experimental Philosophy. Philosophy Compass 2 (1):81–92.

View all 38 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
James Beebe (2013). A Knobe Effect for Belief Ascriptions. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (2):235-258.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Jason Turner (2004). Folk Intuitions, Asymmetry, and Intentional Side Effects. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):214-219.
Joshua Knobe & Bertram Malle (1997). The Folk Concept of Intentionality. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 33:101-121.
Alfred Mele (2007). Reasonology and False Beliefs. Philosophical Papers 36 (1):91-118.
Thomas Nadelhoffer (2004). On Praise, Side Effects, and Folk Ascriptions of Intentionality. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):196-213.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

88 ( #53,113 of 1,940,950 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

15 ( #56,694 of 1,940,950 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.