Bad acts, blameworthy agents, and intentional actions: Some problems for juror impartiality

Philosophical Explorations 9 (2):203 – 219 (2006)
Abstract
In this paper, I first review some of the recent empirical work on the biasing effect that moral considerations have on folk ascriptions of intentional action. Then, I use Mark Alicke's affective model of blame attribution to explain this biasing effect. Finally, I discuss the relevance of this research - both philosophical and psychological - to the problem of the partiality of jury deliberation. After all, if the immorality of an action does affect folk ascriptions of intentionality, and all serious criminal offenses - e.g., murder and rape - are immoral in addition to being illegal, then a juror's ability to determine the relevant mens rea (i.e., guilty mind) of a defendant in an unbiased way may be seriously undermined.
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Joshua Knobe (2010). Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):315.

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