Has the side-effect effect been cancelled? (No, not yet.)

Synthese 200 (5):1-15 (2022)
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A large body of research has found that people judge bad foreseen side effects to be more intentional than good ones. While the standard interpretation of this Side-Effect Effect takes it to show that the ordinary concept of intentionality is influenced by normative considerations, a competing account holds that it is the result of pragmatic pressure to express moral censure and, thus, that the SEE is an experimental artifact. Attempts to confirm this account have previously been unsuccessful, but Lindauer and Southwood :181–186, 2021) present a study that appears to provide support for it, by cancelling the SEE. We are not convinced. Here, we detail three studies testing their interpretation. The results indicate that it is the purported cancellation, rather than the SEE, that is an experimental artifact.

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Author Profiles

Robert Bishop
California State University, San Bernardino
John Schwenkler
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Justin Sytsma
Victoria University of Wellington

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References found in this work

Logic and Conversation.H. P. Grice - 1975 - In Donald Davidson & Gilbert Harman (eds.), The Logic of Grammar. Encino, CA: pp. 64-75.
Cause and Norm.Christopher Hitchcock & Joshua Knobe - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (11):587-612.
Person as scientist, person as moralist.Joshua Knobe - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):315.

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