Judgements of intentionality and moral worth: Experimental challenges to Hindriks

Philosophical Quarterly 59 (237):713-720 (2009)
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Abstract

Joshua Knobe found that people are more likely to describe an action as intentional if it has had a bad outcome than a good outcome, and to blame a bad outcome than to praise a good one. These asymmetries raised numerous questions about lay moral judgement. Frank Hindriks recently proposed that one acts intentionally if one fails to comply with a normative reason against performing the action, that moral praise requires appropriate motivation, whereas moral blame does not, and that these asymmetries are normal features of a theory of intentional action, not anomalies. I present two empirical studies revealing asymmetries in lay judgements of intentionality and moral blameworthiness; these cannot be explained by Hindriks' theory of intentional action.

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