Effects of moral cognition on judgments of intentionality

Jennifer Ellen NADO, Rutgers University, USA

Copyright © 2008 The Author

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Several recent articles on the concept of intentional action center on experimental findings suggesting that intentionality ascription can be affected by moral factors. I argue that the explanation for these phenomena lies in the workings of a tacit moral judgment mechanism, capable under certain circumstances of altering normal intentionality ascriptions. This view contrasts with that of Knobe ([2006]), who argues that the findings show that the concept of intentional action invokes evaluative notions. I discuss and reject possible objections to the moral mechanism view, and offer arguments supporting the model over Knobe’s account on grounds of simplicity and plausibility.