Free will: The brain as an anticipatory system

Pribram, Karl H.
May 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 517 Issue 1, p53
Academic Journal
A woman in the throes of an affair wishes to put out a contract to have her husband done away with. She finds a thug willing to carry out the dastardly act, but he needs to be shown the territory in which the action is to take place. The woman drives the thug to her husband’s place of work and their house, but is flustered and upset: She is not accustomed to premeditated murder. Just as she turns the corner to the street her house is on, a pedestrian dashes across the road and is stricken by her car. He dies. It is her husband. Is the woman guilty of murder or manslaughter? Searle argued (and American courts would undoubtedly uphold him) that the woman is not guilty of murder because murder was not her intention-in-action (only her prior intention). Incidentally, legally both the woman’s and the thug’s motivations are also irrelevant: Her motivation was love and his the acquisition of money, which are both laudable motives in our culture (1). Intentions-in-action implement images of achievement. Prior intentions serve as contexts within which to achieve. These contexts sketch out the intended achievement, much as military strategies sketch out a particular intended action. Tactics, intentions-in-action, are left to field commanders to carry out, subject to immediate contingencies. Prior intentions or strategies, are envisioned whenever processing within an episode becomes so demanding that action cannot begin. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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