Tuesday, 6 February 2007
The Folk Concept of Intentional Action: Philisophical and Experimental Issues
Eduard Machery, Department of HPS
University of Pittsburgh
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
Abstract: Recent experimental findings by Knobe, Nichols and others have been at the center of a controversy about the nature of the folk concept of intentional action. I argue that the significance of these findings has been overstated. My discussion is two-pronged. First, I contend that barring a consensual theory of conceptual competence, the significance of these experimental findings for the nature of the concept of intentional action cannot be determined. Unfortunately, the lack of progress in the philosophy of concepts casts doubt on whether such a consensual theory will be found. Second, I propose a new, deflationary interpretation of these experimental findings, ‘the trade-off hypothesis,’ and I present several new experimental findings that support this interpretation.