Consider these two alternatives:
The Free-Cup CaseThis is a psychological test. Please read and answer the questions before you read the answers.
Joe was feeling quite dehydrated, so he stopped by the local smoothie shop to buy the largest sized drink available. Before ordering, the cashier told him that if he bought a Mega-Sized Smoothie he would get it in a special commemorative cup. Joe replied, ‘I don't care about a commemorative cup, I just want the biggest smoothie you have.' Sure enough, Joe received the Mega-Sized Smoothie in a commemorative cup. Did Joe intentionally obtain the commemorative cup?
The Extra-Dollar Case
Joe was feeling quite dehydrated, so he stopped by the local smoothie shop to buy the largest sized drink available. Before ordering, the cashier told him that the Mega-Sized Smoothies were now one dollar more than they used to be. Joe replied, ‘I don't care if I have to pay one dollar more, I just want the biggest smoothie you have.' Sure enough, Joe received the Mega-Sized Smoothie and paid one dollar more for it. Did Joe intentionally pay one dollar more?
Most normal people say that paying an extra dollar was intentional, while getting the commemorative cup was not. A study by Edouard Machery (2008,pdf) found that 95% of subjects said that paying the extra dollar was intentional.
People with Aspergers supposedly have a brain impairment that prevents them from reading and understanding the intentions of others. In this case, they say that neither the dollar nor the cup was intentional. They just cannot understand that Joe intended to pay the extra dollar.
The people with Aspergers say that they are correct, and not impaired. They say that the neurotypical folks are duped into making some false and unnecessary inferences about Joe's intentions.
Who is right? You tell me in the comments. I don't see how this could have anything to do with a child custody decision, but that may be just another symptom of my alleged Aspergers.
I agree with the neurotypical responses.
That said, there is room for disagreement in both cases. It depends on how you interpret "intentionally".
Joe knowingly received the commemorative cup.
He intentionally paid the extra dollar.
Joe had no intention of getting the cup, as he expressed. It was not germane to his purchase. However, he was aware that by getting the large drink he would likely receive one.
Joe intentionally paid the extra dollar as he intentionally ordered the large drink, but was told it would cost one dollar more. The purchase was expressly conditioned on his intentional payment.
This is almost like a mini-law school exam question on scienter.
I agree completely that it depends on the definition of intentionally.
When I first read this I was operating under the opinion that it was his intention to get the biggest drink. The commerative cup he couldn't care about and the increase in the price didn't put the price above his ability/willingness to still pay for it.
Then I read the anonymous response above and agree.
Regardless, poor frame for a test unless they supply a definition of terms with said test.
I would say that Joe intentionally bought the smoothie, and he just knowingly accepted the other details, whether it be the commemorative cup or the extra dollar. But yes, it depends on what you mean by intention.
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