Tuesday, December 29, 2009

All in the Mind - The philosophy of good intentions


The philosophy of good intentions

Reading the minds of others can be darned hard. Are their intentions good, bad or indifferent? Whether we hold people accountable for their behaviour depends on the answer. Scientists probe questions like this through experiments. Philosophers traditionally appeal to intuition and argument. But now a young band of experimental philosophers are taking armchair philosophy to task, and digging for data.

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Joshua Knobe
Assistant Professor
Department of Philosophy
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Edouard Machery
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
University of Pittsburgh
Resident Fellow of the Center for Philosophy of Science
Member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

Further Information

Join the discussion on the All in the Mind blog
Lots of thought provoking comments from All in the Mind listeners on this one!

Experimental philosophy anthem on Youtube
...complete with a burning armchair.

Video on experimental philosophy
Comedian Eugene Mirman explaining Joshua Knobe's experiment.

Online experiments from the concept of intentional action - have a go!
Joshua Knobe invites you to participate with this question: "What do people mean when they say that a behavior was performed intentionally? This series of experiments was designed to help address that question. At times, the results are surprising".

Intentional Action and Asperger Syndrome
Posted by Edouard Machery on the Psychology Today blog, and he asks: "How do we think about the intentional nature of actions? And how do people with an impaired mindreading capacity think about it?". Try the test yourself.

Experimental philosophy blog
Written by the experimental philosophy community, worldwide.

The New New Philosophy (New York Times, December 2007)
Article by Kwame Anthony Appiah

The X-Philes - Philosophy Meets the Real World (Slate, March 2006)

Against Intuition (The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 2008)
"Experimental philosophers emerge from the shadows, but skeptics still ask: Is this philosophy?"
Article by Christopher Shea

More on the experimental philosophy movement
Compiled by Joshua Knobe, includes critiques.


Title: The Folk Concept of Intentional Action: Philosophical and Experimental Issues
Author: Edouard Machery
Publisher: Mind & Language, 23, 165-189, 2008
URL: http://www.pitt.edu/~machery/papers/The%20folk%20concept%20of%20intentionality_machery.pdf

Title: Philosophy of Psychology
Author: Edouard Machery In F. Allhoff (Ed.), Philosophy of the Special Sciences.
Publisher: Philosophy of Psychology, SUNY Press (forthcoming).
URL: http://www.pitt.edu/~machery/papers/Psychology_machery.pdf

Title: The Concept of Intentional Action:A Case Study in the Uses of Folk Psychology.
Author: Joshua Knobe
Publisher: Philosophical Studies. 130: 203-231, 2006.
URL: http://www.unc.edu/%7Eknobe/PhilStudies.pdf

Title: Acting intentionally and the side-effect effect: Theory of mind and moral judgment
Author: Alan M. Leslie, Joshua Knobe, Adam Cohen
Publisher: Psychological Science, 17, 421-427, 2006.
URL: http://www.unc.edu/%7Eknobe/LeslieKnobeCohen.pdf

Title: Intentional Action and Side Effects in Ordinary Language
Author: Joshua Knobe
Publisher: Analysis, 63, 190-193, 2003
URL: http://www.unc.edu/%7Eknobe/side-effects.html

Title: Theory of Mind and Moral Cognition: Exploring the concepts
Author: Joshua Knobe
Publisher: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9, 357-359, 2005
URL: http://www.unc.edu/%7Eknobe/tics.pdf

Title: Moral Responsibility and Determinism: The Cognitive Science of Folk Intuitions
Author: Shaun Nichols and Joshua Knobe
Publisher: Nous, 41, 663-685 (forthcoming)
URL: http://www.unc.edu/%7Eknobe/Nichols-Knobe.pdf

Title: Intuitions about Consciousness: Experimental Studies
Author: Joshua Knobe and Jesse Prinz
Publisher: Phenomenology and Cognitive Science, forthcoming.
URL: http://www.unc.edu/%7Eknobe/consciousness.pdf


Natasha Mitchell

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