Intentional Action and Side Effects in Ordinary Language

Analysis, Vol. 63, pp. 190-193, 2003

8 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2005


An experimental study of the conditions under which people claim, in ordinary language, that a particular behavior was performed 'intentionally.'

The study was primarily concerned with the status of what are normally called 'side-effects.' An outcome is considered a side-effect of an agent's behavior when (1) the agent performed the behavior knowing that she would thereby bring about the outcome but (2) the agent did not actually perform the behavior for the pupose of bringing about that outcome.

The experiments reported here explore the question as to whether people ordinarily say that the side-effects of an agent's behavior are brought about 'intentionally.'

Keywords: Intention, intentional, ordinary language, psychology, experimental

Suggested Citation

Knobe, Joshua, Intentional Action and Side Effects in Ordinary Language. Analysis, Vol. 63, pp. 190-193, 2003, Available at SSRN:
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