Folk Psychology and Moral Evaluation

Assessments of an action done intentionally, as we might expect, influence judgments of moral responsibility. What we don't expect is the converse--judgments of moral responsibility influencing assessments of whether an action was done intentionally. Yet this is precisely how people decide, according to Knobe (2003, 2004) and Mendlow (2004) and Nadelhoffer (2004a). I evaluate whether the studies actually support this biasing effect. I argue that the studies are at best inconclusive and that even if they demonstrated that people fall under the biasing effect, such tendencies ought to have no bearing upon philosophical analyses of the concept of intentional action.
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DOI 10.1037/h0091245
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PhilPapers Archive Julie Yoo, Folk Psychology and Moral Evaluation
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Eric Wiland (2007). Intentional Action and "in Order To". Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 27 (1):113-118.
Joshua Knobe (2008). Folk Psychology: Science and Morals. In Daniel Hutto & Matthew Ratcliffe (eds.), Folk Psychology Reassessed. Springer Press
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Joshua Knobe (2004). Folk Psychology and Folk Morality: Response to Critics. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):270-279.
Thomas Nadelhoffer (2004). Blame, Badness, and Intentional Action: A Reply to Knobe and Mendlow. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):259-269.

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