Can Unintended Side Effects be Intentional? Resolving a Controversy Over Intentionality and Morality

Authors
Abstract
Can an event’s blameworthiness distort whether people see it as intentional? In controversial recent studies, people judged a behavior’s negative side effect intentional even though the agent allegedly had no desire for it to occur. Such a judgment contradicts the standard assumption that desire is a necessary condition of intentionality, and it raises concerns about assessments of intentionality in legal settings. Six studies examined whether blameworthy events distort intentionality judgments. Studies 1 through 4 show that, counter to recent claims, intentionality judgments are systematically guided by variations in the agent’s desire, for moral and nonmoral actions alike. Studies 5 and 6 show that a behavior’s negative side effects are rarely seen as intentional once people are allowed to choose from multiple descriptions of the behavior. Specifically, people distinguish between “knowingly” and “intentionally” bringing about a side effect, even for immoral actions. These studies suggest that intentionality judgments are unaffected by a behavior’s blameworthiness.
Keywords intentionality  blame  moral judgment  morality  praise  bias
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 37,965
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Excuse Validation: A Study in Rule-Breaking.John Turri & Peter Blouw - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (3):615-634.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Intentionality, Morality, and Their Relationship in Human Judgment.Bertram Malle - 2006 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 6 (1-2):61-86.
Knobe, Side Effects, and the Morally Good Business.Andy Wible - 2009 - Journal of Business Ethics 85 (S1):173 - 178.
Intentional Action and the Praise-Blame Asymmetry.Frank Hindriks - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (233):630-641.
The Role of the Primary Effect in the Assessment of Intentionality and Morality.Michael Waldmann - forthcoming - Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
At the Heart of Morality Lies Folk Psychology.Steve Guglielmo, Andrew E. Monroe & Bertram F. Malle - 2009 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (5):449-466.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-11-26

Total views
74 ( #92,172 of 2,312,286 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #170,113 of 2,312,286 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature