Normativity in Action: How to Explain the Knobe Effect and its Relatives

Mind and Language 29 (1):51-72 (2014)
Abstract
Intuitions about intentional action have turned out to be sensitive to normative factors: most people say that an indifferent agent brings about an effect of her action intentionally when it is harmful, but unintentionally when it is beneficial. Joshua Knobe explains this asymmetry, which is known as ‘the Knobe effect’, in terms of the moral valence of the effect, arguing that this explanation generalizes to other asymmetries concerning notions as diverse as deciding and being free. I present an alternative explanation of the Knobe effect in terms of normative reasons. This explanation generalizes to other folk psychological notions such as deciding, but not to such notions as being free. I go on to argue, against Knobe, that offering a unified explanation of all the asymmetries he discusses is in fact undesirable
Keywords Knobe effect  intentional action  moral valence  normative reasons  indifference  uniification  deciding  freedom  causation
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DOI 10.1111/mila.12041
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References found in this work BETA
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Center for the Study of Language and Information.
Slaves of the Passions.Mark Schroeder - 2007 - Oxford University Press.

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Explanatory Unification in Experimental Philosophy: Let’s Keep It Real.Frank Hindriks - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-24.

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