Unconsidered Intentional Actions. An Assessment of Scaife and Webber’s ‘Consideration Hypothesis’

Journal of Moral Philosophy (1):1-22 (2013)
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Abstract

The ‘Knobe effect’ is the name given to the empirical finding that judgments about whether an action is intentional or not seems to depend on the moral valence of this action. To account for this phenomenon, Scaife and Webber have recently advanced the ‘Consideration Hypothesis’, according to which people’s ascriptions of intentionality are driven by whether they think the agent took the outcome in consideration when taking his decision. In this paper, I examine Scaife and Webber’s hypothesis and conclude that it is supported neither by the existing literature nor by their own experiments, whose results I did not replicate, and that the ‘Consideration Hypothesis’ is not the best available account of the ‘Knobe Effect’.

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Florian Cova
University of Geneva