The epistemic side-effect effect

James R. Beebe, Wesley Buckwalter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Knobe (2003a, 2003b, 2004b) and others have demonstrated the surprising fact that the valence of a side-effect action can affect intuitions about whether that action was performed intentionally. Here we report the results of an experiment that extends these findings by testing for an analogous effect regarding knowledge attributions. Our results suggest that subjects are less likely to find that an agent knows an action will bring about a side-effect when the effect is good than when it is bad. It is further argued that these findings, while preliminary, have important implications for recent debates within epistemology about the relationship between knowledge and action.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-498
Number of pages25
JournalMind and Language
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


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