Throwing dice and murder - a question about intentionality


"If Brown hopes to throw a six in a game of dice and succeeds, we wouldn’t say he threw the six intentionally. If Brown puts his last cartridge into a six-chambered revolver, spins the chamber as he aims it at Smith, his archenemy, pulls the trigger, and kills Smith, we’d say he killed him intentionally. Does that make sense? In both cases Brown hoped for a certain result, in both cases the probability of that result was the same. If Brown didn’t intentionally throw a six, why did he intentionally shoot Smith?" -- Bad Acts and Guilty Minds: Conundrums of the Criminal Law, 1987

This puzzled me at first, but after I thought about it I decided that in both cases Brown intentionally did something knowing that it would have a one-in-six chance of achieving his desired outcome. Is there more to it?

(Via Futility Closet)

Photo by Pascal. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.