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  1. Can Predictive Processing Explain Self-Deception?Marko Jurjako - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-20.
    The prediction error minimization framework denotes a family of views that aim at providing a unified theory of perception, cognition, and action. In this paper, I discuss some of the theoretical limitations of PEM. It appears that PEM cannot provide a satisfactory explanation of motivated reasoning, as instantiated in phenomena such as self-deception, because its cognitive ontology does not have a separate category for motivational states such as desires. However, it might be thought that this objection confuses levels of explanation. (...)
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  • Where There is Life There is Mind: In Support of a Strong Life-Mind Continuity Thesis.Michael David Kirchhoff & Tom Froese - 2017 - Entropy 19.
    This paper considers questions about continuity and discontinuity between life and mind. It begins by examining such questions from the perspective of the free energy principle (FEP). The FEP is becoming increasingly influential in neuroscience and cognitive science. It says that organisms act to maintain themselves in their expected biological and cognitive states, and that they can do so only by minimizing their free energy given that the long-term average of free energy is entropy. The paper then argues that there (...)
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  • Enactivism and Predictive Processing: A Non-Representational View.Michael David Kirchhoff & Ian Robertson - 2018 - Philosophical Explorations 21 (2):264-281.
    This paper starts by considering an argument for thinking that predictive processing (PP) is representational. This argument suggests that the Kullback–Leibler (KL)-divergence provides an accessible measure of misrepresentation, and therefore, a measure of representational content in hierarchical Bayesian inference. The paper then argues that while the KL-divergence is a measure of information, it does not establish a sufficient measure of representational content. We argue that this follows from the fact that the KL-divergence is a measure of relative entropy, which can (...)
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  • From representations in predictive processing to degrees of representational features.Danaja Rutar, Wanja Wiese & Johan Kwisthout - forthcoming - Minds and Machines:1-24.
    Whilst the topic of representations is one of the key topics in philosophy of mind, it has only occasionally been noted that representations and representational features may be gradual. Apart from vague allusions, little has been said on what representational gradation amounts to and why it could be explanatorily useful. The aim of this paper is to provide a novel take on gradation of representational features within the neuroscientific framework of predictive processing. More specifically, we provide a gradual account of (...)
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  • Schema-Centred Unity and Process-Centred Pluralism of the Predictive Mind.Nina Poth - forthcoming - Minds and Machines:1-27.
    Proponents of the predictive processing framework often claim that one of the framework’s significant virtues is its unificatory power. What is supposedly unified are predictive processes in the mind, and these are explained in virtue of a common prediction error-minimisation schema. In this paper, I argue against the claim that PP currently converges towards a unified explanation of cognitive processes. Although the notion of PEM systematically relates a set of posits such as ‘efficiency’ and ‘hierarchical coding’ into a unified conceptual (...)
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  • Serotonin, Predictive Processing and Psychedelics.Matteo Colombo - 2022 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 3.
    Letheby’s "Philosophy of Psychedelics" relies on Predictive Processing to try and find unifying explanations relevant to understanding how serotonergic psychedelics work in psychiatric therapy, what subjective experiences are associated with their use and whether such experiences are epistemically defective. But if Predictive Processing lacks genuinely explanatory unifying power, Letheby’s account of psychedelic therapy risks being unwarranted. In this commentary, I motivate this worry and sketch an alternative interpretation of psychedelic therapy within the Reinforcement Learning framework.
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  • A Tale of Two Architectures.Majid D. Beni - 2022 - Consciousness and Cognition 98:103257.
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  • Underlying Delusion: Predictive Processing, Looping Effects, and the Personal/Sub-Personal Distinction.Matteo Colombo & Regina E. Fabry - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology:1-27.
    What is the relationship between the concepts of the predictive processing theory of brain functioning and the everyday concepts with which people conduct and explain their mental lives? To answer this question, we focus on predictive processing explanations of mental disorder that appeal to false inference. After distinguishing two concepts of false inference, we survey four ways of understanding the relationship between explanations of mental phenomena at the personal and sub-personal level. We then argue that if predictive processing accurately accounts (...)
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  • Aligning the free-energy principle with Peirce’s logic of science and economy of research.Majid D. Beni & Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-21.
    The paper proposes a way to naturalise Charles S. Peirce’s conception of the scientific method, which he specified in terms of abduction, deduction and induction. The focus is on the central issue of the economy of research in abduction and self-correction by error reduction in induction. We show how Peirce’s logic of science receives support from modern breakthroughs in computational neuroscience, and more specifically from Karl Friston’s statements of active inference and the Free Energy Principle, namely the account of how (...)
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  • Unification by Fiat: Arrested Development of Predictive Processing.Piotr Litwin & Marcin Miłkowski - 2020 - Cognitive Science 44 (7).
    Predictive processing (PP) has been repeatedly presented as a unificatory account of perception, action, and cognition. In this paper, we argue that this is premature: As a unifying theory, PP fails to deliver general, simple, homogeneous, and systematic explanations. By examining its current trajectory of development, we conclude that PP remains only loosely connected both to its computational framework and to its hypothetical biological underpinnings, which makes its fundamentals unclear. Instead of offering explanations that refer to the same set of (...)
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  • Explanations in Cognitive Science: Unification Versus Pluralism.Marcin Miłkowski & Mateusz Hohol - 2020 - Synthese 199 (Suppl 1):1-17.
    The debate between the defenders of explanatory unification and explanatory pluralism has been ongoing from the beginning of cognitive science and is one of the central themes of its philosophy. Does cognitive science need a grand unifying theory? Should explanatory pluralism be embraced instead? Or maybe local integrative efforts are needed? What are the advantages of explanatory unification as compared to the benefits of explanatory pluralism? These questions, among others, are addressed in this Synthese’s special issue. In the introductory paper, (...)
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  • From Symbols to Icons: The Return of Resemblance in the Cognitive Neuroscience Revolution.Daniel Williams & Lincoln Colling - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):1941-1967.
    We argue that one important aspect of the “cognitive neuroscience revolution” identified by Boone and Piccinini :1509–1534. doi: 10.1007/s11229-015-0783-4, 2015) is a dramatic shift away from thinking of cognitive representations as arbitrary symbols towards thinking of them as icons that replicate structural characteristics of their targets. We argue that this shift has been driven both “from below” and “from above”—that is, from a greater appreciation of what mechanistic explanation of information-processing systems involves, and from a greater appreciation of the problems (...)
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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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  • Betwixt and Between: The Enculturated Predictive Processing Approach to Cognition.Regina E. Fabry - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2483-2518.
    Many of our cognitive capacities are the result of enculturation. Enculturation is the temporally extended transformative acquisition of cognitive practices in the cognitive niche. Cognitive practices are embodied and normatively constrained ways to interact with epistemic resources in the cognitive niche in order to complete a cognitive task. The emerging predictive processing perspective offers new functional principles and conceptual tools to account for the cerebral and extra-cerebral bodily components that give rise to cognitive practices. According to this emerging perspective, many (...)
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  • Predictive Coding and Thought.Daniel Williams - 2020 - Synthese 197 (4):1749-1775.
    Predictive processing has recently been advanced as a global cognitive architecture for the brain. I argue that its commitments concerning the nature and format of cognitive representation are inadequate to account for two basic characteristics of conceptual thought: first, its generality—the fact that we can think and flexibly reason about phenomena at any level of spatial and temporal scale and abstraction; second, its rich compositionality—the specific way in which concepts productively combine to yield our thoughts. I consider two strategies for (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Content and Misrepresentation in Hierarchical Generative Models.Alex Kiefer & Jakob Hohwy - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2387-2415.
    In this paper, we consider how certain longstanding philosophical questions about mental representation may be answered on the assumption that cognitive and perceptual systems implement hierarchical generative models, such as those discussed within the prediction error minimization framework. We build on existing treatments of representation via structural resemblance, such as those in Gładziejewski :559–582, 2016) and Gładziejewski and Miłkowski, to argue for a representationalist interpretation of the PEM framework. We further motivate the proposed approach to content by arguing that it (...)
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  • Reinforcement Learning: A Brief Guide for Philosophers of Mind.Julia Haas - manuscript
    I argue for the role of reinforcement learning in the philosophy of mind. To start, I make several assumptions about the nature of reinforcement learning and its instantiation in minds like ours. I then review some of the contributions of reinforcement learning methods have made across the so-called 'decision sciences.' Finally, I show how principles from reinforcement learning can shape philosophical debates regarding the nature of perception and characterisations of desire.
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  • The Math is Not the Territory: Navigating the Free Energy Principle.Mel Andrews - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (3):1-19.
    Much has been written about the free energy principle, and much misunderstood. The principle has traditionally been put forth as a theory of brain function or biological self-organisation. Critiques of the framework have focused on its lack of empirical support and a failure to generate concrete, falsifiable predictions. I take both positive and negative evaluations of the FEP thus far to have been largely in error, and appeal to a robust literature on scientific modelling to rectify the situation. A prominent (...)
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  • Can Hierarchical Predictive Coding Explain Binocular Rivalry?Julia Haas - 2021 - Philosophical Psychology 34 (3):424-444.
    Hohwy et al.’s (2008) model of binocular rivalry (BR) is taken as a classic illustration of predictive coding’s explanatory power. I revisit the account and show that it cannot explain the role of reward in BR. I then consider a more recent version of Bayesian model averaging, which recasts the role of reward in (BR) in terms of optimism bias. If we accept this account, however, then we must reconsider our conception of perception. On this latter view, I argue, organisms (...)
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  • HIT and Brain Reward Function: A Case of Mistaken Identity (Theory).Cory Wright, Matteo Colombo & Alexander Beard - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 64:28–40.
    This paper employs a case study from the history of neuroscience—brain reward function—to scrutinize the inductive argument for the so-called ‘Heuristic Identity Theory’ (HIT). The case fails to support HIT, illustrating why other case studies previously thought to provide empirical support for HIT also fold under scrutiny. After distinguishing two different ways of understanding the types of identity claims presupposed by HIT and considering other conceptual problems, we conclude that HIT is not an alternative to the traditional identity theory so (...)
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  • Predictive Processing, Perceiving and Imagining: Is to Perceive to Imagine, or Something Close to It?Michael D. Kirchhoff - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):751-767.
    This paper examines the relationship between perceiving and imagining on the basis of predictive processing models in neuroscience. Contrary to the received view in philosophy of mind, which holds that perceiving and imagining are essentially distinct, these models depict perceiving and imagining as deeply unified and overlapping. It is argued that there are two mutually exclusive implications of taking perception and imagination to be fundamentally unified. The view defended is what I dub the ecological–enactive view given that it does not (...)
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