Acting intentionally and the side-effect effect: 'Theory of mind' and moral judgment

Psychological Science 17:421-427 (2006)
Abstract
The concept of acting intentionally is an important nexus where ‘theory of mind’ and moral judgment meet. Preschool children’s judgments of intentional action show a valence-driven asymmetry. Children say that a foreseen but disavowed side-effect is brought about 'on purpose' when the side-effect itself is morally bad but not when it is morally good. This is the first demonstration in preschoolers that moral judgment influences judgments of ‘on-purpose’ (as opposed to purpose influencing moral judgment). Judgments of intentional action are usually assumed to be purely factual. That these judgments are sometimes partly normative — even in preschoolers — challenges current understanding. Young children’s judgments regarding foreseen side-effects depend upon whether the children process the idea that the character does not care about the side-effect. As soon as preschoolers effectively process the ‘theory of mind’ concept, NOT CARE THAT P, children show the side-effect effect.idea..
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Universal Moral Grammar: Theory, Evidence, and the Future.John Mikhail - 2007 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11 (4):143 –152.
Experimental Philosophy.Joshua Knobe - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (1):81–92.
The Epistemic Side-Effect Effect.James R. Beebe & Wesley Buckwalter - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (4):474-498.
Intuitions About Consciousness: Experimental Studies.Joshua Knobe & Jesse J. Prinz - 2008 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7 (1):67-83.

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