For any intention, thought, or decision you make in your mind, there must have been prior brain activity that determined it, because there’s no other way you could have developed a thought.

Another option: there are cases where the thought is the brain activity. You’ve still got a ‘ghost in the machine’ with thoughts being something other than embodied brain activity capable of leading to action.

A better grist for this thought experiment might be something like planning a vacation, planning a move in a complex game, or figuring out what graduate schools to apply to. Games are probably the best example because they’re a pocket universe of sorts that provide an objective, rules to define all paths forward, and hence the motivation to think things through.

Quoting Libet, “ “Given the issue is so fundamentally important to our view of who we are, a claim that our free will is illusory should be based on fairly direct evidence. Such evidence is not available.”

Berkeley Backpacking Biz Lifer, System Builder, Coder, Community Organizer, Music and Evolutionary Biology Geek. Sign up and my projects at