Three-and-a-half folk concepts of intentional action

Philosophical Studies 158 (1):17-30 (2012)

Fiery Cushman and Alfred Mele recently proposed a ‘two-and-a-half rules’ theory of folk intentionality. They suggested that laypersons attribute intentionality employing: one rule based on desire, one based on belief, and another principle based on moral judgment, which may either reflect a folk concept (and so count as a third rule) or a bias (and so not count as a rule proper) and which they provisionally count as ‘half a rule’. In this article, I discuss some cases in which an agent is judged as having neither belief nor desire to bring about an action, and yet laypersons find the agent’s action to be intentional. Many lay responses apparently follow a rule, but many other seem biased. The contribution of this study is two-fold: by addressing actions performed without desire or belief, it expands Mele and Cushman’s account; it also helps discriminate between a two-rules and a three-rules theory. As a conclusion, I argue in favor of a three-and-a-half concepts theory
Keywords Action theory  Experimental philosophy  Folk concepts  Knobe effect  Intentionality
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9664-3
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Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Center for the Study of Language and Information.
Experimental Philosophy and Philosophical Intuition.Ernest Sosa - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (1):99-107.

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A Knobe Effect for Belief Ascriptions.James R. Beebe - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (2):235-258.

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