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  1. 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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  • 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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  • Two Kinds of Information Processing in Cognition.Mark Sprevak - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (3):591-611.
    What is the relationship between information and representation? Dating back at least to Dretske, an influential answer has been that information is a rung on a ladder that gets one to representation. Representation is information, or representation is information plus some other ingredient. In this paper, I argue that this approach oversimplifies the relationship between information and representation. If one takes current probabilistic models of cognition seriously, information is connected to representation in a new way. It enters as a property (...)
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  • Active Inference and Abduction.Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen & Majid D. Beni - forthcoming - Biosemiotics:1-19.
    The background target of the research going into the present article is to forge an intellectual alliance between, on the one hand, active inference and the free-energy principle, and on the other, Charles S. Peirce’s theory of semiotics and pragmatism. In the present paper, the focus is on the allegiance between the nomenclatures of active and abductive inferences as the proper place to begin reaching at that wider target. The paper outlines the key conceptual elements involved in a naturalistic rendering (...)
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  • A Free Energy Reconstruction of Arguments for Panpsychism.Majid D. Beni - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-18.
    The paper draws on scientific resources formed around the notion of Free Energy Principle to reconstruct two well-known defences of panpsychism. I reconstruct the argument from continuity by expanding the mind-life continuity thesis under the rubric of the Free Energy Principle, by showing that FEP does not provide an objective criterion for demarcating the living from the inanimate. Then I will reconstruct the argument from intrinsic nature. The FEP-based account of consciousness is centred on the notion of ‘temporal depth’ of (...)
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  • Between pebbles and organisms: weaving autonomy into the Markov blanket.Thomas van Es & Michael D. Kirchhoff - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    The free energy principle is sometimes put forward as accounting for biological self-organization and cognition. It states that for a system to maintain non-equilibrium steady-state with its environment it can be described as minimising its free energy. It is said to be entirely scale-free, applying to anything from particles to organisms, and interactive machines, spanning from the abiotic to the biotic. Because the FEP is so general in its application, one might wonder whether this framework can capture anything specific to (...)
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  • A critical analysis of Markovian monism.Majid D. Beni - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    Free Energy Principle underlies a unifying framework that integrates theories of origins of life, cognition, and action. Recently, FEP has been developed into a Markovian monist perspective. The paper expresses scepticism about the validity of arguments for Markovian monism. The critique is based on the assumption that Markovian models are scientific models, and while we may defend ontological theories about the nature of scientific models, we could not read off metaphysical theses about the nature of target systems from our theories (...)
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  • New Directions in Predictive Processing.Jakob Hohwy - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (2):209-223.
    Predictive processing (PP) is now a prominent theoretical framework in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. This review focuses on PP research with a relatively philosophical focus, taking stock of the framework and discussing new directions. The review contains an introduction that describes the full PP toolbox; an exploration of areas where PP has advanced understanding of perceptual and cognitive phenomena; a discussion of PP's impact on foundational issues in cognitive science; and a consideration of the philosophy of science (...)
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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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  • The Free Energy Principle: It’s Not About What It Takes, It’s About What Took You There.Axel Constant - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (2):1-17.
    Philosophical writings on the free energy principle in the life sciences often give the impression that minimising free energy is sufficient for life. But minimising free energy is not a sufficient condition for life. In fact, one can perfectly well conceive of a system that actively minimises its free energy, and for this very reason moves inexorably towards death. So, where does the assumption of this entailment relation come from? There is indeed an entailment relation, but it goes the other (...)
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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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  • Limiting the explanatory scope of extended active inference: the implications of a causal pattern analysis of selective niche construction, developmental niche construction, and organism-niche coordination dynamics.Regina E. Fabry - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (1):1-26.
    Research in evolutionary biology and philosophy of biology and cognition strongly suggests that human organisms modify their environment through active processes of niche construction. Recently, proponents of the free-energy principle and variational active inference have argued that their approach can deepen our understanding of the reciprocal causal relationship between organisms and their niche on various scales. This paper examines the feasibility and scope of variational formalisations and conceptualisations of the organism-niche nexus with a particular focus on the extended active inference (...)
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  • Maladaptive Social Norms, Cultural Progress, and the Free-Energy Principle.Matteo Colombo - 2020 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43.
    Veissière and collaborators ground their account of culture and social norms in the free-energy principle, which postulates that the utility of an outcome is equivalent to its probability. This equivalence would mean that their account entails that complying with social norms has always adaptive value. But, this is false, because many social norms are obviously maladaptive.
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  • Morphological Computation: Nothing but Physical Computation.Marcin Miłkowski - 2018 - Entropy 10 (20):942.
    The purpose of this paper is to argue against the claim that morphological computation is substantially different from other kinds of physical computation. I show that some (but not all) purported cases of morphological computation do not count as specifically computational, and that those that do are solely physical computational systems. These latter cases are not, however, specific enough: all computational systems, not only morphological ones, may (and sometimes should) be studied in various ways, including their energy efficiency, cost, reliability, (...)
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