Intentional Side-Effects of Action

Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (2):179-203 (2013)
Abstract
Recent empirical research into the folk classification of the outcomes of actions as intentional is usually taken to show that such classification has an irreducibly normative dimension. Various interpretations of the experimental data have in common the claim that whether the side-effect of an action counts as intentional depends on some normative valence of that side-effect.1 This is the way that Joshua Knobe, for example, whose experimental research started this debate, understands the data. Some critics of this view claim the experiments indicate only a bias in the folk application of the concept rather than an aspect of the concept itself. A more radical criticism denies that we should explain the data with reference to the normative valence of the side-effect, claiming instead that whether an effect is classified as intentional depends on its role in the agent’s reasoning. Edouard Machery has advanced a version of this view, although strong evidence has been presented against his position
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Thomas Nadelhoffer (2004). Blame, Badness, and Intentional Action: A Reply to Knobe and Mendlow. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):259-269.
Adam Feltz (2007). The Knobe Effect: A Brief Overview. Journal of Mind and Behavior 28:265-277.
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