We all know what a voluntary action is, we all think we understand the processes leading up to
an action we perform. First, there has to be a wish or goal which then leads to an action designed to fulfill that wish or attain that goal. This standard view of voluntary action is prominent in both folk psychology and the professional sphere (e.g., the juridical) and guides a great deal of psychological and philosophical reasoning. But is it that simple? Research from the cognitive sciences has shown us that the brain activation required to perform the action can actually precede the brain activation representing our conscious desire to perform that action. Only in retrospect do we corne to attribute the action we performed to some desire or wish to perform the action. The action comes first, the desire to produce it cornes second. This presents us with a problem-if our conscious awareness of an action follows its execution, then is it a voluntary action? And if not, then who is responsible for the action? Who is accountable? Who should feel guilty for performing a criminal act? This notion of voluntary action is ultimately about agency, responsibility, and guilt. The questions guiding this book therefore are: what is the explanatory rote of voluntary action and are there ways that we can reconcile our common-sense intuitions about voluntary actions, with the findings from the neurosciences? In this unique book, outstanding scholars representing a range of disciplines, including the natural and social sciences as well as philosophy, deal with these questions. Their answers, not surprisingly, differ-yet they all agree that the neurocognitive challenge needs to be taken seriously. Voluntary action is not quite so simple a concept.