I argue that proponents of embodied social cognition (ESC) can usefully supplement their views if they enlist the help of an unlikely ally: Daniel Dennett. On Dennett’s view, human social cognition involves adopting the intentionalstance (IS), i.e., assuming that an interpretive target’s behavior is an optimally rational attempt to fulfill some desire relative to her beliefs. Characterized this way, proponents of ESC would reject any alliance with Dennett. However, for Dennett, to attribute mental states from the (...) class='Hi'>intentionalstance is not to attribute concrete, unobservable mental causes of behavior. Once this is appreciated, the kinship between IS—understood as a model of our quotidian interpretive practices—and ESC is apparent: both assume that quotidian interpretation involves tracking abstract, observable, behavioral patterns, not attributing unobservable, concrete, mental causes, i.e., both assume social cognition is possible without metapsychology. I argue that this affinity constitutes an opportunity: proponents of ESC can use IS as a characterization of the subpersonal basis for social cognition. In the process, I make my interpretation of IS more precise and relate it to current empirical literature in developmental psychology. (shrink)
I examine the way in which Daniel Dennett (1987, 1995) uses his 'intentional'and 'design' stances to make the claim that intentionality is derived fromdesign. I suggest that Dennett is best understood as attempting to supplyan objective, nonintentional, naturalistic rationale for our use of intentionalconcepts. However, I demonstrate that his overall picture presupposesprior application of the intentionalstance in a preconditional, ineliminable,'sense-giving' role. Construed as such, Dennett's account is almostidentical to the account of biological teleology offered by Kant (...) in TheCritique of Judgement, with the consequence that Dennett's naturalism isuntenable. My conclusions lead to doubts concerning the legitimacy of anyaccount attempting to naturalise intentionality by extracting normativityfrom biology and also point to a novel account of biological function. (shrink)
Psychologists distinguish between intentional systems which have beliefs and those which are also able to attribute beliefs to others. The ability to do the latter is called having a `theory of mind', and many cognitive ethologists are hoping to find evidence for this ability in animal behaviour. I argue that Dennett's theory entails that any intentional system that interacts with another intentional system (such as vervet monkeys and chess-playing computers) has a theory of mind, which would make (...) the distinction all but meaningless. This entailment should not be accepted; instead, Dennett's position that intentional behaviour is best predictable via the intentionalstance should be rejected in favour of a pluralistic view of behaviour prediction. I introduce an additional method which humans often use to predict intentional and non-intentional behaviour, which could be called the inductive stance. (shrink)
It has been claimed that the intentionalstance is necessary to individuate behavioral traits. This thesis, while clearly false, points to two interesting sets of problems concerning biological explanations of behavior: The first is a general in the philosophy of science: the theory-ladenness of observation. The second problem concerns the principles of trait individuation, which is a general problem in philosophy of biology. After discussing some alternatives, I show that one way of individuating the behavioral traits of an (...) organism is by a special use of the concept of biological function, as understood in an enriched causal role (not selected effect) sense. On this view, a behavioral trait is essentially a special kind of regularity, namely a regularity that is produced by some regulatory mechanism. Regulatory mechanisms always require goal states, which can only be provided by functional considerations. As an example from actual (as opposed to folk) science, I examine the case of social behavior in nematodes. I show that the attempt to explain this phenomenon actually transformed it. This supports the view that scientific explanation does not explain an explanandum phenomenon that is given prior to the explanation; rather, the explanandum is changed by the explanation. This means that there could be a plurality of stances that have some heuristic value initially, but which will be abandoned in favor of a functional characterization eventually. (shrink)
Like everyone with a scientific bent of mind, Dennett thinks our capacity for meaningful language and states of mind is the product of evolution (Dennett [1987, ch. VIII]). But unlike many of this bent, he sees virtue in viewing evolution itself from the intentionalstance. From this stance, ?Mother Nature?, or the process of evolution by natural selection, bestows intentionality upon us, hence we are not Unmeant Meaners. Thus, our intentionality is extrinsic, and Dennett dismisses the theories (...) of meaning of Dretske, Fodor, Burge, Putnam, and Kripke on the grounds that each requires that our mental states, unlike those of artifacts, have meaning intrinsically. I argue that we are Unmeant Meaners, incidentally defending Dretske et al., though my goal is to test the explanatory virtue of the intentionalstance as applied to the evolution of intentionality. (shrink)
Abstract Daniel Dennett advocates the use of the intentionalstance in adaptationist biology and in cognitive ethology. He sees intentional system theory as closely related to decision theory and game theory. In biological decision and game theory models, nature ?chooses? the strategy by which the animal chooses a course of action. The design of the animal imposes constraints on the model. For Dennett, by contrast, the description of nature's rationale imposes constraints on the design of the animal. (...) Dennett's oversimplified conception of nature's rationale undermines the usefulness of the intentionalstance as a tool in cognitive ethology. Intentional system theory can be made more useful in investigating animal cognition by modifying its application to questions of biological function. (shrink)
Nowhere in the psychological sciences has the philosophy of mind had more influence than on the child development literature generally referred to as children’s ‘theory of mind.’ Developmental journals may seem to be an unlikely place to find Brentano, Frege, and Dennett alongside descriptions of referential opacity and the principle of substitutivity, but it is not at all uncommon in this literature. While the many problems and complexities of the propositional attitude literature are still hotly debated by philosophers, and often (...) ill understood by scientists working in this area, a great deal of empirical progress has already been made. We have Dan Dennett to thank for this extraordinary dialogue between these disciplines. (shrink)
Deweyan pedagogy seeks to promotes growth, characterized as an increased sensitivity, responsiveness, and ability to participate in an environment. Growth, Dewey says, is fostered by the development of habits that enable further habit formation. Unfortunately, humans have their own habitual ways of encountering other species, which often do not support growth. In this article, I briefly review some common conceptions of learning and the process of habit-formation to scope out the landscape of a more responsible and responsive approach to taking (...) growth seriously. What emerges is a reflexive biosemiotics that has humans explicitly concerned with the in situ emergence of new signification in themselves and in other organisms. This requires we take a pedagogical stance in our attitudes and practices towards other species, which we can enrich with insights derived from re-interpreting traditional empirical studies. By freeing the habit-forming process from confining stereotype, a biological pedagogy can enable a more fluid and creative biosphere, unencumbered to explore unfolding possibilities in semiotic space. (shrink)
I argue that free will and determinism are compatible, even when we take free will to require the ability to do otherwise and even when we interpret that ability modally, as the possibility of doing otherwise, and not just conditionally or dispositionally. My argument draws on a distinction between physical and agential possibility. Although in a deterministic world only one future sequence of events is physically possible for each state of the world, the more coarsely defined state of an agent (...) and his or her environment can be consistent with more than one such sequence, and thus different actions can be “agentially possible”. The agential perspective is supported by our best theories of human behaviour, and so we should take it at face value when we refer to what an agent can and cannot do. On the picture I defend, free will is not a physical phenomenon, but a higher-level one on a par with other higher-level phenomena such as agency and intentionality. (shrink)
Dennett’s contrast between auto- and hetero-phenomenology is badly drawn, primarily because Dennett identifies phenomenologists as introspective psychologists. The contrast I draw between phenomenology and hetero-phenomenology is not in terms of the difference between a first-person, introspective perspective and a third-person perspective but rather in terms of the difference between two third-person accounts – a descriptive phenomenology and an explanatory psychology – both of which take the first-person perspective into account.
Psychological attitudes towards service and personal robots are selectively examined from the vantage point of psychoanalysis. Significant case studies include the uncanny valley effect, brain-actuated robots evoking magic mental powers, parental attitudes towards robotic children, idealizations of robotic soldiers, persecutory fantasies involving robotic components and systems. Freudian theories of narcissism, animism, infantile complexes, ego ideal, and ideal ego are brought to bear on the interpretation of these various items. The horizons of Human-robot Interaction are found to afford new and fertile (...) grounds for psychoanalytic theorizing beyond strictly therapeutic contexts. (shrink)
It is argued that “human-centredness” will be an important characteristic of systems that learn tasks from human users, as the difficulties in inductive inference rule out learning without human assistance. The aim of “programming by example” is to create systems that learn how to perform tasks from their human users by being shown examples of what is to be done. Just as the user creates a learning environment for the system, so the system provides a teaching opportunity for the user, (...) and emphasis is placed as much on facilitating successful teaching as on incorporating techniques of machine learning. If systems can “learn” repetitive tasks, their users will have the power to decide for themselves which parts of their jobs should be automated, and teach the system how to do them — reducing their dependence on intermediaries such as system designers and programmers.This paper presents principles for programming by example derived from experience in creating four prototype learners: for technical drawing, text editing, office tasks, and robot assembly. A teaching metaphor (a) enables the user to demonstrate a task by performing it manually, (b) helps to explain the learner's limited capabilities in terms of a persona, and (c) allows users to attribute intentionality. Tasks are represented procedurally, and augmented with constraints. Suitable mechanisms for attention focusing are necessary in order to control inductive search. Hidden features of a task should be made explicit so that the learner need not embark on the huge search entailed by hypothesizing missing steps. (shrink)
I argue that intentional psychology does not stand in need of vindication by a lower-level implementation theory from cognitive science, in particular the representational theory of mind (RTM), as most famously Jerry Fodor has argued. The stance of the paper is novel in that I claim this holds even if one, in line with Fodor, views intentional psychology as an empirical theory, and its theoretical posits as as real as those of other sciences. I consider four metaphysical (...) arguments for the idea that intentional psychological states, such as beliefs, must be seen as requiring in-the-head mental representations for us to be able to understand their characteristic causal powers and argue that none of them validly generate their desired conclusions. I go on to argue that RTM, or some computational version thereof, is not motivated by appeal to the nature of cognitive science research either. I conclude that intentional psychology, though an empirical theory, is autonomous from details of lower level mechanism in a way that renders RTM unwarranted. (shrink)
Intentional systems theory is in the first place an analysis of the meanings of such everyday ‘mentalistic’ terms as ‘believe,’ ‘desire,’ ‘expect,’ ‘decide,’ and ‘intend,’ the terms of ‘folk psychology’ (Dennett 1971) that we use to interpret, explain, and predict the behavior of other human beings, animals, some artifacts such as robots and computers, and indeed ourselves. In traditional parlance, we seem to be attributing minds to the things we thus interpret, and this raises a host of questions about (...) the conditions under which a thing can be truly said to have a mind, or to have beliefs, desires and other ‘mental’ states. According to intentional systems theory, these questions can best be answered by analyzing the logical presuppositions and methods of our attribution practices, when we adopt the intentionalstance toward something. Anything that is usefully and voluminously predictable from the intentionalstance is, by definition, an intentional system. The intentionalstance is the strategy of interpreting the behavior of an entity (person, animal, artifact, whatever) by treating it as if it were a rational agent who governed its ‘choice’ of ‘action’ by a ‘consideration’ of its ‘beliefs’ and ‘desires.’ The scare-quotes around all these terms draw attention to the fact that some of their standard connotations may be set aside in the interests of exploiting their central features: their role in practical reasoning, and hence in the prediction of the behavior of practical reasoners. (shrink)
In a short article called “Mid-Term Examination: Compare and Contrast” that epitomizes and concludes his book The IntentionalStance, D. C. Dennett (1987) provides a sketch of what he views as an emerging Interpretivist consensus in the philosophy of mind. The gist is that Brentano’s thesis is true (the intentional is irreducible to the physical) and that it follows from the truth of Brentano’s thesis that: strictly speaking, ontologically speaking, there are no such things as beliefs, desires, (...) or other intentional phenomena. But the intentional idioms are “practically indispensable,” and we should see what we can do to make sense of their employment in what Quine called an “essentially dramatic” idiom…. Not just brute facts , then but an element of interpretation…must be recognized in any use of the intentional vocabulary. (Dennett, 1987, p. 342)12 In this context, “making sense of” the prevalence of the intentional idiom is not explaining why it should be indispensable if there are no beliefs or desires for it to refer to. Nor is it specifying the truth conditions of intentional attribution inevitably involves “an element of interpretation.” The discussion that follows treats these two papers together. (shrink)
The contention that cognitive psychology and radical behaviorism yield equivalent accounts of decision making and problem solving is examined by contrasting a framework of cognitive interpretation, Dennett's intentionalstance, with a corresponding interpretive stance derived from contextualism. The insistence of radical behaviorists that private events such as thoughts and feelings belong in a science of human behavior is indicted in view of their failure to provide a credible interpretation of complex human behavior. Dennett's interpretation of (...) class='Hi'>intentional systems is an exemplar of the interpretive stance radical behaviorism requires; a corresponding interpretive position can be based initially on a radical behaviorist view of human behavior and its determinants. This "contextual stance" is ontologically and methodologically distinct from the intentionalstance over the range of explanations for which scientific psychology, cognitive or behaviorist, is responsible. (shrink)
The central fact in the delineation of radical behaviorism is its conceptual avoidance of propositional content. This eschewal of the intentionalstance sets it apart not only from cognitivism but from other non-behaviorisms. Indeed, the defining characteristic of radical behaviorism is not that it avoids mediating processes per se but that it sets out to account for behavior without recourse to propositional attitudes. Based, rather, on the contextual stance, it provides definitions of contingency-shaped, rule-governed verbal and private (...) behaviors which are non-intentional. However, while the account provided by radical behaviorism fulfills the pragmatic criteria of prediction and control of its subject matter, it has problems of explanation that stem from the failure of radical behaviorist interpretation to address the personal level of analysis, to provide for the continuity of behavior, and to show how its accounts can be delimited in the face of causal equifinality. This leaves gaps in its explanation that radical behaviorists choose either to ignore or to fill with the very intentional locutions that they formally abhor but which I argue are essential. As a result, many psychologists who style themselves radical behaviorists have already moved beyond radical behaviorism as a philosophy of science. They have done so primarily as a result of adopting the language of intentional psychology in order to explain behavior; where they have not done this, they have resorted to the unscientific assumption that somewhere there is a learning history that explains their data. While it is indeed the case that a learning history precedes all operant behavior, the explanatory gap that is revealed by the search for this unobtainable information reveals the inescapability of intentionality. Hence, psychologists, including radical behaviorists, are right to employ it. The challenge is to understand why this is so and to celebrate rather than denigrate the resulting extension of behavioral science. In this response, I first raise and seek to answer two questions: what is radical behaviorism, and what is intentional explanation? I go on to discuss the incompleteness of radical behaviorism. There follows a summary of the argument with respect to intentional behaviorism and super-personal cognitive psychology. And, finally, I bring the discussion back to Daniel Dennett, the philosopher who initiated so much of it. (shrink)
In this article, I develop an account of the use of intentional predicates in cognitive neuroscience explanations. As pointed out by Maxwell Bennett and Peter Hacker, intentional language abounds in neuroscience theories. According to Bennett and Hacker, the subpersonal use of intentional predicates results in conceptual confusion. I argue against this overly strong conclusion by evaluating the contested language use in light of its explanatory function. By employing conceptual resources from the contemporary philosophy of science, I show (...) that although the use of intentional predicates in mechanistic explanations sometimes leads to explanatorily inert claims, intentional predicates can also successfully feature in mechanistic explanations as tools for the functional analysis of the explanandum phenomenon. Despite the similarities between my account and Daniel Dennett's intentional-stance approach, I argue that intentionalstance should not be understood as a theory of subpersonal causal explanation, and therefore cannot be used to assess the explanatory role of intentional predicates in neuroscience. Finally, I outline a general strategy for answering the question of what kind of language can be employed in mechanistic explanations. (shrink)
This paper proposes a new interpretive stance for interpreting artistic works and performances that is relevant to artificial intelligence research but also has broader implications. Termed the expressive stance, this stance makes intelligible a critical distinction between present-day machine art and human art, but allows for the possibility that future machine art could find a place alongside our own. The expressive stance is elaborated as a response to Daniel Dennett's notion of the intentionalstance, (...) which is critically examined with respect to his specialized concept of rationality. The paper also shows that temporal scale implicitly serves to select between different modes of explanation in prominent theories of intentionality. It also considers the implications of the phenomenological background for systems that produce art. (shrink)
In his recent book, The Empirical Stance, Bas van Fraassen forcefully raises the question of what a philosophical position can or should be. He mainly discusses this question with regard to empiricism but his discussion makes it clear that he takes his proposed answer to be generalizable: not only empiricism but philosophical positions in general should be understood as stances rather than dogmata. The first part of this essay is devoted to an examination of van Fraassen’s critique of ‘naïve’ (...) or dogmatic empiricism, which represents an integral part of his argument for ‘stance’ empiricism. It will be argued that, contrary to van Fraassen’s view, not all versions of naïve empiricism run into the problems identified by him. In the second part of the paper the case will be made that, contrary to van Fraassen’s thesis, the stance empiricist is in at least as bad a position as the naïve empiricist with regard to the task of providing a radical critique of metaphysics, which van Fraassen takes to be an essential task that any empiricist should be able to accomplish. The third part of this essay concerns van Fraassen’s general proposal, and examines the question whether a philosophical position can possibly consist in a stance. It will be suggested that this is not the case. With regard to empiricism this has the implication that if one wants to be a philosopher and an empiricist at the same time one needs to subscribe to a form of naïve empiricism. Furthermore, it will be proposed that as a philosopher-empiricist one should want, or, at least, allow some form of metaphysical theorizing to be part of the philosophical enterprise after all. (shrink)
van Fraassen (The empirical stance, 2002) contrasts the empirical stance with the materialist stance. The way he describes them makes both of them attractive, and while opposed they have something in common for both stances are scientific approaches to philosophy. The difference between them reflects their differing conceptions of science itself. Empiricists emphasise fallibilism, verifiability and falsifiability, and also to some extent scepticism and tolerance of novel hypotheses. Materialists regard the theoretical picture of the world as matter (...) in motion as a true and explanatory account and insist on not taking ' spooky' entities or processes seriously as potential explanations of phenomena that so far lie outside the scope of successful science. The history of science shows us that both stances have been instrumental in the achievement of progress at various times. It is therefore plausible for a naturalist to suggest that science depends for its success on the dialectic between empiricism and materialism. A truly naturalist approach to philosophy ought then to synthesise them. Call the synthesized empiricist and materialist stances 4he scientistic stance'.This paper elaborates and defends it. (shrink)
Four experiments examined people’s folk-psychological concept of intentional action. The chief question was whether or not _evaluative _considerations — considerations of good and bad, right and wrong, praise and blame — played any role in that concept. The results indicated that the moral qualities of a behavior strongly influence people’s judgements as to whether or not that behavior should be considered ‘intentional.’ After eliminating a number of alternative explanations, the author concludes that this effect is best explained by (...) the hypothesis that evaluative considerations do play some role in people’s concept of intentional action.<b> </b>. (shrink)
I have argued elsewhere that the psychological aspects of Nietzsche’s later works are best understood from a psychodynamic point of view. Nietzsche holds a view I dubbed the tenacity of the intentional (T): when an intentional state loses its object, a new object replaces the original; the state does not disappear entirely. In this essay I amend and clarify (T) to (T``): When an intentional state with a sub-propositional object loses its object, the affective component of the (...) state persists without a corresponding object, and that affect will generally be redeployed in a state with a distinct object. I then trace the development of the tenacity thesis through Nietzsche’s early and middle works. Along the way, I discuss a number of related topics, including the scope of the tenacity thesis (does it apply to all intentional states?), the reflexive turn one often finds in Nietzsche’s examples (why does he so often say the new object is oneself?), and the relations among will to power, drives, and the tenacity of the intentional. (shrink)
Taking our lead from Solomon’s emphasis on the importance of the intentional object of emotion, we review the history of repeated attempts to make this object disappear. We adduce evidence suggesting that in the case of James and Schachter, the intentional object got lost unintentionally. By contrast, modern constructivists (in particular Barrett) seem quite determined to deny the centrality of the intentional object in accounting for the occurrence of emotions. Griffiths, however, downplays the role objects have in (...) emotion noting that these do not qualify as intentional. We argue that these disappearing acts, deliberate or not, generate fruitless debate and add little to the advancement of our understanding of emotion as an adaptive mechanism to cope with events that are relevant to an organism’s life. (shrink)
It is natural to think that at root, agents are beings that act. Agents do more than this, however – agents omit to act. Sometimes agents do so intentionally. How should we understand intentional omission? Recent accounts of intentional omission have given causation a central theoretical role. The move is well-motivated. If some form of causalism about intentional omission can successfully exploit similarities between action and omission, it might inherit the broad support causalism about intentional action (...) enjoys. In this paper I consider the prospects for causalism about intentional omission. I examine two recent proposals: one Carolina Sartorio (2009) defends, and one Randolph Clarke (2010a) defends. I argue these versions fail, and for a similar reason. Reflection on the function of intention for agency brings this reason to light, and motivates a novel causalism about intentional omission. On the account I go on to defend necessarily, an agent J intentionally omits to A only if an intention of J’s with relevant content (or the intention’s acquisition) causes in J a disposition not to A. Though the causal work done by intentions to omit differs in some cases from the causal work done by intentions to act, it turns out that causalism about intentional behavior (i.e., about action and omission) is viable. (shrink)
This short paper, forthcoming as part of a symposium on experimental philosophy to appear in the popular publication, The Philosophers’ Magazine (including contributions by Papineau, Stich, Machery, Sommers, and Knobe), offers an accessible summary of seven years of experimental-philosophical research into intentional action attributions.
Intentional action involves both a series of neural events in the motor areas of the brain, and also a distinctive conscious experience that ''I'' am the author of the action. This paper investigates some possible ways in which these neural and phenomenal events may be related. Recent models of motor prediction are relevant to the conscious experience of action as well as to its neural control. Such models depend critically on matching the actual consequences of a movement against its (...) internally predicted effects. However, it remains unclear whether our conscious experience of action depends on a precise matching process, or a retrospective inference that ''I'' must have been responsible for a particular event. We report an experiment in which normal subjects judged the perceived time of either intentional actions, involuntary movements, or subsequent effects (auditory tones) of these. We found that the subject's intention to produce the auditory tone produced an intentional binding between the perceived times of the subject's action and the tone. However, if the intention was interrupted by an imposed involuntary movement, followed by the identical tone, no such binding occurred. The phenomenology of intentional action requires an appropriate predictive link between intentions and effects, rather than a retrospective inference that ''I'' caused the effect. (shrink)
In opposition to the tenet of contemporary action theory that an intentional action must be done for a reason, I argue that some intentional actions are unmotivated. I provide examples of arbitrary and habitual actions that are done for no reason at all. I consider and rebut an objection to the examples of unmotivated habitual action. I explain how my contention differs from recent challenges to the tenet by Hursthouse, Stocker and Pollard.
Discusses the old problem of how to characterize apparently intentional states that appear to lack objects. In tandem with critically discussing a recent proposal by Tim Crane, I develop the line of reasoning according to which talking about intentional objects is really a way of talking about intentional states—in particular, it’s a way of talking about their satisfaction-conditions.
The ‘Knobe effect’ is the name given to the empirical finding that judgments about whether an action is intentional or not seem to depend on the moral valence of this action. To account for this phenomenon, Scaife and Webber have recently advanced the ‘Consideration Hypothesis’, according to which people’s ascriptions of intentionality are driven by whether they think the agent took the outcome in consideration when taking his decision. In this paper, I examine Scaife and Webber’s hypothesis and conclude (...) that it is supported neither by the existing literature nor by their own experiments, whose results I did not replicate, and that the ‘Consideration Hypothesis’ is not the best available account of the ‘Knobe Effect’. (shrink)
I. Thanks largely to Joshua Knobe, philosophers now frequently empirically investigate the folk psychological concept of intentional action. Knobe (2003, 2004a, 2004b) argues that application of this concept is often surprisingly sensitive to one’s moral views. In particular, it seems that people are much more willing to regard a bit of behavior as intentional, if they think that the action in question is bad or wrong. There is much controversy about both the design and the interpretation of the (...) experiments Knobe has conducted. One concern is that common use of the word ‘intentionally’ seems to be sensitive to matters other than the concept of intentional action. Perhaps the use of the word ‘intentionally’ is also governed by pragmatic thoughts about blameworthiness—if you think N.N. is to be blamed for ф-ing, then you are more likely to say that N.N. is ф-ing intentionally, apart from whether you really judge that the ф-ing was intentional (Adams and Steadman 2004a). One way to neutralize these concerns is to gauge whether people regard an action as intentional, not by asking them whether they would apply the word ‘intentional’ or its cognates to the action in question, but by seeing whether they treat the action as susceptible to reason explanations. After all, if some act of ф-ing is susceptible to a reason explanation, then the act of ф-ing is intentional. Knobe infers that we can see whether a psychological subject regards some act as intentional by seeing whether the subject is willing to say that the bit of behavior can function appropriately in a reasons explanation. (shrink)
Knobe argues that people’s judgments of the moral status of a side-effect of action influence their assessment of whether the side-effect is intentional. We tested this hypothesis using vignettes akin to Knobe’s but involving economically or eudaimonistically (wellness-related) negative side-effects. Our results show that it is people’s sense of what agents deserve and not the moral status of side-effects that drives intuition.
I argue that, given an influential type of reductive account of intentional joint action, a requirement that agents have “common knowledge” (CK) of each other’s intentions should be rejected. For instance, our building of a block tower could be an intentional joint action even if I falsely believed that you thought that I just intended to cover your blocks with mine. My argument is mainly negative: I examine and reject arguments that have been made, or that could have (...) been made, in favour of the CK-condition. Contrary to received opinion, the common knowledge required by such a condition is neither a constitutive element of intentional joint action, nor a necessary enabling condition for its occurrence. (shrink)