The centrality of belief and reflection in Knobe-effect cases

a unified account of the data

Mark Alfano*, James R. Beebe, Brian Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recent work in experimental philosophy has shown that people are more likely to attribute intentionality, knowledge, and other psychological properties to someone who causes a bad side effect than to someone who causes a good one. We argue that all of these asymmetries can be explained in terms of a single underlying asymmetry involving belief attribution because the belief that one's action would result in a certain side effect is a necessary component of each of the psychological attitudes in question. We argue further that this belief-attribution asymmetry is rational because it mirrors a belief-formation asymmetry, and that the belief-formation asymmetry is also rational because it is more useful to form some beliefs than others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-289
Number of pages26
JournalMonist
Volume95
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • intentional action
  • folk concept
  • norms

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