chapter  8
20 Pages

Autonomic and autonomous ‘thinking’: preconditions for criminal accountability

ByMIREILLE HILDEBRANDT

Cognitive psychology suggests that unconscious ‘thought’ is capable of complex analyses, way beyond the capability of the conscious mind. In fact, many cognitive scientists claim that most – if not all – of our behaviour is the result of ‘the adaptive unconscious’ without which we would not be able to function at all. Explaining or justifying our actions depends on being consciously aware of what motivated these actions. If, however, the ‘causes’ of our behaviour are not accessible to the conscious mind, the ‘reasons’ we give may be qualified as a comfortable illusion. The difference between autonomic computing and human behaviour, in that case, is not obvious.