Autonomic and autonomous thinking as preconditions for criminal liability

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter builds on recent findings of cognitive psychology about 'The New Unconscious', relating this to Judith Butler's exploration of the constitutive opacity of the self. The argument will be that the interplay between autonomic and conscious thought is the precondition for autonomous action, constituting the possibility to blame a person for wrongful action. Autonomic computing environments, however, could manipulate our autonomic behaviours in ways that do not reach the threshold of consciousness, thus easily manipulating us into being nice and decent (or horrible and dangerous) individuals without us having a clue as to why we act as we do.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLaw, Human Agency and Autonomic Computing. The philosophy of law meets the philosophy of technology
EditorsMireille Hildebrandt, Antoinette Rouvroy
Number of pages248
ISBN (Print)978-0-415-59323-6
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Mireille Hildebrandt and Antoinette Rouvroy


  • cognitive psychology
  • judith butler
  • human agency
  • autonomic computing
  • unconscious


Dive into the research topics of 'Autonomic and autonomous thinking as preconditions for criminal liability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this