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How to Knit Your Own Markov Blanket

Philosophy and Predictive Processing (2017)

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  1. Cultural Blankets: Epistemological Pluralism in the Evolutionary Epistemology of Mechanisms.Pierre Poirier, Luc Faucher & Jean-Nicolas Bourdon - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 52 (2):335-350.
    In a recently published paper, we argued that theories of cultural evolution can gain explanatory power by being more pluralistic. In his reply to it, Dennett agreed that more pluralism is needed. Our paper’s main point was to urge cultural evolutionists to get their hands dirty by describing the fine details of cultural products and by striving to offer detailed and, when explanatory, varied algorithms or mechanisms to account for them. While Dennett’s latest work on cultural evolution does marvelously well (...)
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  • Predictive Processing and the Representation Wars.Daniel Williams - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (1):141-172.
    Clark has recently suggested that predictive processing advances a theory of neural function with the resources to put an ecumenical end to the “representation wars” of recent cognitive science. In this paper I defend and develop this suggestion. First, I broaden the representation wars to include three foundational challenges to representational cognitive science. Second, I articulate three features of predictive processing’s account of internal representation that distinguish it from more orthodox representationalist frameworks. Specifically, I argue that it posits a resemblance-based (...)
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  • Am I Self-Conscious?Karl Friston - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • Is Free-Energy Minimisation the Mark of the Cognitive?Matt Sims & Julian Kiverstein - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (2):1-27.
    A mark of the cognitive should allow us to specify theoretical principles for demarcating cognitive from non-cognitive causes of behaviour in organisms. Specific criteria are required to settle the question of when in the evolution of life cognition first emerged. An answer to this question should however avoid two pitfalls. It should avoid overintellectualising the minds of other organisms, ascribing to them cognitive capacities for which they have no need given the lives they lead within the niches they inhabit. But (...)
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  • First Principles in the Life Sciences: The Free-Energy Principle, Organicism, and Mechanism.Matteo Colombo & Cory Wright - 2021 - Synthese 198 (14):3463–3488.
    The free-energy principle states that all systems that minimize their free energy resist a tendency to physical disintegration. Originally proposed to account for perception, learning, and action, the free-energy principle has been applied to the evolution, development, morphology, anatomy and function of the brain, and has been called a postulate, an unfalsifiable principle, a natural law, and an imperative. While it might afford a theoretical foundation for understanding the relationship between environment, life, and mind, its epistemic status is unclear. Also (...)
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  • Perceiving as Knowing in the Predictive Mind.Daniel Munro - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-27.
    On an ‘internalist’ picture, knowledge isn’t necessary for understanding the nature of perception and perceptual experience. This contrasts with the ‘knowledge first’ picture, according to which it’s essential to the nature of successful perceiving as a mental state that it’s a way of knowing. It’s often thought that naturalistic theorizing about the mind should adopt the internalist picture. However, I argue that a powerful, recently prominent framework for scientific study of the mind, ‘predictive processing,’ instead supports the knowledge first picture. (...)
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  • Modelling ourselves: what the free energy principle reveals about our implicit notions of representation.Matt Sims & Giovanni Pezzulo - forthcoming - Synthese:1-33.
    Predictive processing theories are increasingly popular in philosophy of mind; such process theories often gain support from the Free Energy Principle —a normative principle for adaptive self-organized systems. Yet there is a current and much discussed debate about conflicting philosophical interpretations of FEP, e.g., representational versus non-representational. Here we argue that these different interpretations depend on implicit assumptions about what qualifies as representational. We deploy the Free Energy Principle instrumentally to distinguish four main notions of representation, which focus on organizational, (...)
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  • Are Basic Actors Brainbound Agents? Narrowing Down Solutions to the Problem of Probabilistic Content for Predictive Perceivers.George Britten-Neish - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-25.
    Clark (2018) worries that predictive processing accounts of perception introduce a puzzling disconnect between the content of personal-level perceptual states and their underlying subpersonal representations. According to PP, in perception, the brain encodes information about the environment in conditional probability density distributions over causes of sensory input. But it seems perceptual experience only presents us with one way the world is at a time. If perception is at bottom probabilistic, shouldn’t this aspect of subpersonally represented content show up in consciousness? (...)
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  • From filters to fillers: an active inference approach to body image distortion in the selfie era.Simon C. Tremblay, Safae Essafi Tremblay & Pierre Poirier - 2021 - AI and Society (1):33-48.
    Advances in artificial intelligence, as well as its increased presence in everyday life, have brought the emergence of many new phenomena, including an intriguing appearance of what seems to be a variant of body dysmorphic disorder, coined “Snapchat dysmorphia”. Body dysmorphic disorder is a DSM-5 psychiatric disorder defined as a preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance that are not observable or appear slight to others. Snapchat dysmorphia is fueled by automated selfie filters that reflect (...)
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  • From Filters to Fillers: An Active Inference Approach to Body Image Distortion in the Selfie Era.Simon C. Tremblay, Safae Essafi Tremblay & Pierre Poirier - 2020 - AI and Society (1):1-16.
    Advances in artificial intelligence, as well as its increased presence in everyday life, have brought the emergence of many new phenomena, including an intriguing appearance of what seems to be a variant of body dysmorphic disorder, coined “Snapchat dysmorphia”. Body dysmorphic disorder is a DSM-5 psychiatric disorder defined as a preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance that are not observable or appear slight to others. Snapchat dysmorphia is fueled by automated selfie filters that reflect (...)
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  • Conscious Self-Evidencing.Jakob Hohwy - forthcoming - Review of Psychology and Philosophy.
    Self-evidencing describes the purported predictive processing of all self-organising systems, whether conscious or not. Self-evidencing in itself is therefore not sufficient for consciousness. Different systems may however be capable of self-evidencing in different, specific and distinct ways. Some of these ways of self-evidencing can be matched up with, and explain, several properties of consciousness. This carves out a distinction in nature between those systems that are conscious, as described by these properties, and those that are not. This approach throws new (...)
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  • How to Determine the Boundaries of the Mind: A Markov Blanket Proposal.Michael D. Kirchhoff & Julian Kiverstein - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4791-4810.
    We develop a truism of commonsense psychology that perception and action constitute the boundaries of the mind. We do so however not on the basis of commonsense psychology, but by using the notion of a Markov blanket originally employed to describe the topological properties of causal networks. We employ the Markov blanket formalism to propose precise criteria for demarcating the boundaries of the mind that unlike other rival candidates for “marks of the cognitive” avoids begging the question in the extended (...)
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  • Brain Entropy During Aging Through a Free Energy Principle Approach.Filippo Cieri, Xiaowei Zhuang, Jessica Z. K. Caldwell & Dietmar Cordes - 2021 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 15.
    Neural complexity and brain entropy have gained greater interest in recent years. The dynamics of neural signals and their relations with information processing continue to be investigated through different measures in a variety of noteworthy studies. The BEN of spontaneous neural activity decreases during states of reduced consciousness. This evidence has been showed in primary consciousness states, such as psychedelic states, under the name of “the entropic brain hypothesis.” In this manuscript we propose an extension of this hypothesis to physiological (...)
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  • Computational Enactivism Under the Free Energy Principle.Tomasz Korbak - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2743-2763.
    In this paper, I argue that enactivism and computationalism—two seemingly incompatible research traditions in modern cognitive science—can be fruitfully reconciled under the framework of the free energy principle. FEP holds that cognitive systems encode generative models of their niches and cognition can be understood in terms of minimizing the free energy of these models. There are two philosophical interpretations of this picture. A computationalist will argue that as FEP claims that Bayesian inference underpins both perception and action, it entails a (...)
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  • Just How Conservative is Conservative Predictive Processing?Paweł Gładziejewski - 2017 - Hybris. Internetowy Magazyn Filozoficzny 38:98-122.
    Predictive Processing (PP) framework construes perception and action (and perhaps other cognitive phenomena) as a matter of minimizing prediction error, i.e. the mismatch between the sensory input and sensory predictions generated by a hierarchically organized statistical model. There is a question of how PP fits into the debate between traditional, neurocentric and representation-heavy approaches in cognitive science and those approaches that see cognition as embodied, environmentally embedded, extended and (largely) representation-free. In the present paper, I aim to investigate and clarify (...)
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  • TTOM in Action: Refining the Variational Approach to Cognition and Culture.Samuel P. L. Veissière, Axel Constant, Maxwell J. D. Ramstead, Karl J. Friston & Laurence J. Kirmayer - 2020 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43.
    The target article “Thinking Through Other Minds” offered an account of the distinctively human capacity to acquire cultural knowledge, norms, and practices. To this end, we leveraged recent ideas from theoretical neurobiology to understand the human mind in social and cultural contexts. Our aim was bothsynthetic– building an integrative model adequate to account for key features of cultural learning and adaptation; andprescriptive– showing how the tools developed to explain brain dynamics can be applied to the emergence of social and cultural (...)
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  • Multiscale Integration: Beyond Internalism and Externalism.Maxwell J. D. Ramstead, Michael D. Kirchhoff, Axel Constant & Karl J. Friston - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 1):41-70.
    We present a multiscale integrationist interpretation of the boundaries of cognitive systems, using the Markov blanket formalism of the variational free energy principle. This interpretation is intended as a corrective for the philosophical debate over internalist and externalist interpretations of cognitive boundaries; we stake out a compromise position. We first survey key principles of new radical views of cognition. We then describe an internalist interpretation premised on the Markov blanket formalism. Having reviewed these accounts, we develop our positive multiscale account. (...)
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  • Toward an Embodied, Embedded Predictive Processing Account.Elmarie Venter - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 12.
    In this paper, I argue for an embodied, embedded approach to predictive processing and thus align the framework with situated cognition. The recent popularity of theories conceiving of the brain as a predictive organ has given rise to two broad camps in the literature that I call free energy enactivism and cognitivist predictive processing. The two approaches vary in scope and methodology. The scope of cognitivist predictive processing is narrow and restricts cognition to brain processes and structures; it does not (...)
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  • Extended Active Inference: Constructing Predictive Cognition Beyond Skulls.Axel Constant, Andy Clark, Michael Kirchhoff & Karl J. Friston - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
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  • The Projective Consciousness Model and Phenomenal Selfhood.Kenneth Williford, Daniel Bennequin, Karl Friston & David Rudrauf - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • Clark, A. 2016. Surfing Uncertainty. Prediction, Action and the Embodied Mind. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. 424 Pp. ISBN 978-0-19-021701-3. [REVIEW]Martin Nitsch - 2018 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 21 (1):261-267.
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  • A Theory of Predictive Dissonance: Predictive Processing Presents a New Take on Cognitive Dissonance.Roope Oskari Kaaronen - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
    This article is a comparative study between predictive processing (PP, or predictive coding) and cognitive dissonance (CD) theory. The theory of CD, one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology, is shown to be highly compatible with recent developments in PP. This is particularly evident in the notion that both theories deal with strategies to reduce perceived error signals. However, reasons exist to update the theory of CD to one of “predictive dissonance.” First, the hierarchical PP (...)
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  • Hierarchical Markov Blankets and Adaptive Active Inference. [REVIEW]Michael David Kirchhoff - 2018 - Physics of Life Reviews 24.
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  • Phenomenology and Cognitive Science: Don’T Fear the Reductionist Bogey-Man.Jakob Hohwy - 2018 - Australasian Philosophical Review 2 (2):138-144.
    Shaun Gallagher calls for a radical rethinking of the concept of nature and he resists reduction of phenomenology to computational-neural science. However, classic, reductionist science, at least in contemporary computational guise, has the resources to accommodate insights from transcendental phenomenology. Reductionism should be embraced, not feared.
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  • Rethinking Again.Shaun Gallagher - 2018 - Australasian Philosophical Review 2 (2):234-245.
    Volume 2, Issue 2, June 2018, Page 234-245.
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