David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Mind and Language 24 (1):24-50 (2009)
Abstract: Recent experimental research on the 'Knobe effect' suggests, somewhat surprisingly, that there is a bi-directional relation between attributions of intentional action and evaluative considerations. We defend a novel account of this phenomenon that exploits two factors: (i) an intuitive asymmetry in judgments of responsibility (e.g. praise/blame) and (ii) the fact that intentionality commonly connects the evaluative status of actions to the responsibility of actors. We present the results of several new studies that provide empirical evidence in support of this account while disconfirming various currently prominent alternative accounts. We end by discussing some implications of this account for folk psychology.
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