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  1. 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • From Allostatic Agents to Counterfactual Cognisers: Active Inference, Biological Regulation, and the Origins of Cognition.Andrew W. Corcoran, Giovanni Pezzulo & Jakob Hohwy - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (3):1-45.
    What is the function of cognition? On one influential account, cognition evolved to co-ordinate behaviour with environmental change or complexity. Liberal interpretations of this view ascribe cognition to an extraordinarily broad set of biological systems—even bacteria, which modulate their activity in response to salient external cues, would seem to qualify as cognitive agents. However, equating cognition with adaptive flexibility per se glosses over important distinctions in the way biological organisms deal with environmental complexity. Drawing on contemporary advances in theoretical biology (...)
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  • A Universal Ethology Challenge to the Free Energy Principle: Species of Inference and Good Regulators.Thomas van Es & Michael D. Kirchhoff - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (2):1-24.
    The free energy principle portends to provide a unifying principle for the biological and cognitive sciences. It states that for a system to maintain non-equilibrium steady-state with its environment it must minimise its free energy. Under the FEP, to minimise free energy is equivalent to engaging in approximate Bayesian inference. According to the FEP, therefore, inference is at the explanatory base of biology and cognition. In this paper, we discuss a specific challenge to this inferential formulation of adaptive self-organisation. We (...)
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  • An enactivist approach to treating depression: cultivating online intelligence through dance and music.Michelle Maiese - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19 (3):523-547.
    This paper utilizes the enactivist notion of ‘sense-making’ to discuss the nature of depression and examine some implications for treatment. As I understand it, sensemaking is fully embodied, fundamentally affective, and thoroughly embedded in a social environment. I begin by presenting an enactivist conceptualization of affective intentionality and describing how this general mode of intentional directedness to the world is disrupted in cases of major depressive disorder. Next, I utilize this enactivist framework to unpack the notion of ‘temporal desituatedness,’ and (...)
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  • First Principles in the Life Sciences: The Free-Energy Principle, Organicism, and Mechanism.Matteo Colombo & Cory Wright - forthcoming - Synthese 198 (Suppl 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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  • Free Energy and the Self: An Ecological–Enactive Interpretation.Julian Kiverstein - 2020 - Topoi 39 (3):559-574.
    According to the free energy principle all living systems aim to minimise free energy in their sensory exchanges with the environment. Processes of free energy minimisation are thus ubiquitous in the biological world. Indeed it has been argued that even plants engage in free energy minimisation. Not all living things however feel alive. How then did the feeling of being alive get started? In line with the arguments of the phenomenologists, I will claim that every feeling must be felt by (...)
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  • Embodiment, Sociality, and the Life Shaping Thesis.Michelle Maiese - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (2):353-374.
    What Kyselo calls the “body-social problem” concerns whether to individuate the human self in terms of its bodily aspects or social aspects. In her view, either approach risks privileging one dimension while reducing the other to a mere contextual element. However, she proposes that principles from enactivism can help us to find a middle ground and solve the body-social problem. Here Kyselo looks to the notions of “needful freedom” and "individuation through and from a world" and extends them from the (...)
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  • Experiencing Organisms: From Mineness to Subject of Experience.Tobias Schlicht - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2447-2474.
    Many philosophers hold that phenomenally conscious experiences involve a sense of mineness, since experiences like pain or hunger are immediately presented as mine. What can be said about this mineness, and does acceptance of this feature commit us to the existence of a subject or self? If yes, how should we characterize this subject? This paper considers the possibility that, to the extent that we accept this feature, it provides us with a minimal notion of a subject of experience, and (...)
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  • The Feeling of Grip: Novelty, Error Dynamics, and the Predictive Brain.Julian Kiverstein, Mark Miller & Erik Rietveld - 2019 - Synthese 196 (7):2847-2869.
    According to the free energy principle biological agents resist a tendency to disorder in their interactions with a dynamically changing environment by keeping themselves in sensory and physiological states that are expected given their embodiment and the niche they inhabit :127–138, 2010. doi: 10.1038/nrn2787). Why would a biological agent that aims at minimising uncertainty in its encounters with the world ever be motivated to seek out novelty? Novelty for such an agent would arrive in the form of sensory and physiological (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • How passive is passive listening? Toward a sensorimotor theory of auditory perception.Tom Froese & Ximena González-Grandón - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19 (4):619-651.
    According to sensorimotor theory perceiving is a bodily skill involving exercise of an implicit know-how of the systematic ways that sensations change as a result of potential movements, that is, of sensorimotor contingencies. The theory has been most successfully applied to vision and touch, while perceptual modalities that rely less on overt exploration of the environment have not received as much attention. In addition, most research has focused on philosophically grounding the theory and on psychologically elucidating sensorimotor laws, but the (...)
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  • Levels and Norm-Development: A Phenomenological Approach to Enactive-Ecological Norms of Action and Perception.Miguel A. Sepúlveda-Pedro - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
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  • Does Separating Intentionality From Mental Representation Imply Radical Enactivism?Tobias Schlicht - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • Reincarnating the Identity Theory.Erik Myin & Farid Zahnoun - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9 (3):1--9.
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  • A New, Better BET: Rescuing and Revising Basic Emotion Theory.Michael David Kirchhoff, Daniel D. Hutto & Ian Robertson - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9:1-12.
    Basic Emotion Theory, or BET, has dominated the affective sciences for decades (Ekman, 1972, 1992, 1999; Ekman and Davidson, 1994; Griffiths, 2013; Scarantino and Griffiths, 2011). It has been highly influential, driving a number of empirical lines of research (e.g., in the context of facial expression detection, neuroimaging studies and evolutionary psychology). Nevertheless, BET has been criticized by philosophers, leading to calls for it to be jettisoned entirely (Colombetti, 2014; Hufendiek, 2016). This paper defuses those criticisms. In addition, it shows (...)
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  • The Circularity of the Embodied Mind.Thomas Fuchs - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
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  • The Markov Blankets of Life: Autonomy, Active Inference and the Free Energy Principle.Michael David Kirchhoff - 2018 - Journal of the Royal Society Interface 15 (138).
    This work addresses the autonomous organization of biological systems. It does so by considering the boundaries of biological systems, from individual cells to Home sapiens, in terms of the presence of Markov blankets under the active inference scheme—a corollary of the free energy principle. A Markov blanket defines the boundaries of a system in a statistical sense. Here we consider how a collective of Markov blankets can self-assemble into a global system that itself has a Markov blanket; thereby providing an (...)
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  • Mind-Life Continuity: A Qualitative Study of Conscious Experience.Inês Hipólito & J. Martins - 2017 - Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 131:432-444.
    There are two fundamental models to understanding the phenomenon of natural life. One is thecomputational model, which is based on the symbolic thinking paradigm. The other is the biologicalorganism model. The common difficulty attributed to these paradigms is that their reductive tools allowthe phenomenological aspects of experience to remain hidden behind yes/no responses (behavioraltests), or brain ‘pictures’ (neuroimaging). Hence, one of the problems regards how to overcome meth-odological difficulties towards a non-reductive investigation of conscious experience. It is our aim in (...)
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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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