Morality or modality?: What does the attribution of intentionality depend on?

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):pp. 25-39 (2010)
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It has been argued that the attribution of intentional actions is sensitive to our moral judgment. I suggest an alternative, where the attribution of intentional actions depends on modal (and not moral) considerations. We judge a foreseen side-effect of an agent’s intentionally performed action to be intentional if the following modal claim is true: if she had not ignored considerations about the foreseen side-effect, her action might have been different (other things being equal). I go through the most important examples of the asymmetry in the attribution of intentionality and point out that the modal account can cover all the problematic cases, whereas the moral account can’t


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Bence Nanay
University of Antwerp

References found in this work

Practical reasoning.Gilbert Harman - 1997 - In Alfred R. Mele (ed.), The philosophy of action. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 431--63.

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