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Vanilla PP for Philosophers: A Primer on Predictive Processing

Philosophy and Predictive Processing (2017)

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  1. Fame in the predictive brain: a deflationary approach to explaining consciousness in the prediction error minimization framework.Krzysztof Dołęga & Joe E. Dewhurst - 2021 - Synthese 198 (8):7781-7806.
    The proposal that probabilistic inference and unconscious hypothesis testing are central to information processing in the brain has been steadily gaining ground in cognitive neuroscience and associated fields. One popular version of this proposal is the new theoretical framework of predictive processing or prediction error minimization, which couples unconscious hypothesis testing with the idea of ‘active inference’ and claims to offer a unified account of perception and action. Here we will consider one outstanding issue that still looms large at the (...)
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  • Predictive Processing and the Representation Wars: A Victory for the Eliminativist.Adrian Downey - 2018 - Synthese 195 (12):5115-5139.
    In this paper I argue that, by combining eliminativist and fictionalist approaches toward the sub-personal representational posits of predictive processing, we arrive at an empirically robust and yet metaphysically innocuous cognitive scientific framework. I begin the paper by providing a non-representational account of the five key posits of predictive processing. Then, I motivate a fictionalist approach toward the remaining indispensable representational posits of predictive processing, and explain how representation can play an epistemologically indispensable role within predictive processing explanations without thereby (...)
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  • Explaining “Spatial Purport of Perception”: A Predictive Processing Approach.Wiktor Rorot - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9739-9762.
    Despite the large interest in the human ability to perceive space present in neuroscience, cognitive science and psychology, as well as philosophy of mind, the issues regarding egocentric space representation received relatively less attention. In this paper I take up a unique phenomenon related to this faculty: the “spatial purport” of perceptual experiences. The notion was proposed by Rick Grush to describe the subjective, qualitative aspects of egocentric representations of spatial properties and relations. Although Grush offered an explanation of the (...)
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  • Commentary: The Problem of Mental Action: Predictive Control Without Sensory Sheets.Giovanni Pezzulo - 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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  • Cognitive Systems, Predictive Processing, and the Self.Robert D. Rupert - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology (Online):1-26.
    This essay presents the conditional probability of co-contribution account of the individuation of cognitive systems (CPC) and argues that CPC provides an attractive basis for a theory of the cognitive self. I proceed in a largely indirect way, by emphasizing empirical challenges faced by an approach that relies entirely on predictive processing (PP) mechanisms to ground a theory of the cognitive self. Given the challenges faced by PP-based approaches, we should prefer a theory of the cognitive self of the sort (...)
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  • Explanation Within Arm’s Reach: A Predictive Processing Framework for Single Arm Use in Octopuses.Sidney Carls-Diamante - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-16.
    Octopuses are highly intelligent animals with vertebrate-like cognitive and behavioural repertoires. Despite these similarities, vertebrate-based models of cognition and behaviour cannot always be successfully applied to octopuses, due to the structural and functional characteristics that have evolved in their nervous system in response to the unique challenges posed by octopus morphology. For instance, the octopus brain does not support a somatotopic or point-for-point spatial map of the body—an important feature of vertebrate nervous systems. Thus, while octopuses are capable of motor (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • Pure Awareness Experience.Brentyn J. Ramm - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-23.
    I am aware of the red and orange autumn leaves. Am I aware of my awareness of the leaves? Not so according to many philosophers. By contrast, many meditative traditions report an experience of awareness itself. I argue that such a pure awareness experience must have a non-sensory phenomenal character. I use Douglas Harding’s first-person experiments for assisting in recognizing pure awareness. In particular, I investigate the gap where one cannot see one’s head. This is not a mere gap because (...)
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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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  • Religious Belief as Acquired Second Nature.Hans Van Eyghen - 2020 - Zygon 55 (1):185-206.
    Multiple authors in cognitive science of religion (CSR) argue that there is something about the human mind that disposes it to form religious beliefs. The dispositions would result from the internal architecture of the mind. In this article, I will argue that this disposition can be explained by various forms of (cultural) learning and not by the internal architecture of the mind. For my argument, I draw on new developments in predictive processing. I argue that CSR theories argue for the (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Being Realist About Bayes, and the Predictive Processing Theory of Mind.Matteo Colombo, Lee Elkin & Stephan Hartmann - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (1):185-220.
    Some naturalistic philosophers of mind subscribing to the predictive processing theory of mind have adopted a realist attitude towards the results of Bayesian cognitive science. In this paper, we argue that this realist attitude is unwarranted. The Bayesian research program in cognitive science does not possess special epistemic virtues over alternative approaches for explaining mental phenomena involving uncertainty. In particular, the Bayesian approach is not simpler, more unifying, or more rational than alternatives. It is also contentious that the Bayesian approach (...)
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  • Minimizing prediction errors in predictive processing: from inconsistency to non-representationalism.Thomas van Es - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19 (5):997-1017.
    Predictive processing is an increasingly popular approach to cognition, perception and action. It says that the brain is essentially a hierarchical prediction machine. It is typically construed in a representationalist and inferentialist fashion so that the brain makes contentful inferences on the basis of representational models. In this paper, I argue that the predictive processing framework is inconsistent with this epistemic position. In particular, I argue that the combination of hierarchical modeling, contentful inferentialism and representationalism entail an internal inconsistency. Specifically, (...)
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  • Against Radical Enactivism’s Narrowmindedness About Phenomenality.Juan Camilo Espejo-Serna - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 1):213-228.
    Radical Enactivism rejects representationalism but nonetheless allows the phenomenal character of perceptual experience as supervening on brain bound elements. In this paper, I argue that Radical Enactivism should reject the possibility of wholly brain-bound phenomenal experience. I propose a way of individuating perceptual experiences that does not depend on representationalism and raises a problem to the view defended by Hutto and Myin according to which, with respect to phenomenality, it is possible to adopt a view that partly construes experience in (...)
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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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  • Representation Wars: Enacting an Armistice Through Active Inference.Axel Constant, Andy Clark & Karl J. Friston - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    Over the last 30 years, representationalist and dynamicist positions in the philosophy of cognitive science have argued over whether neurocognitive processes should be viewed as representational or not. Major scientific and technological developments over the years have furnished both parties with ever more sophisticated conceptual weaponry. In recent years, an enactive generalization of predictive processing – known as active inference – has been proposed as a unifying theory of brain functions. Since then, active inference has fueled both representationalist and dynamicist (...)
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  • What Simulations Teach Us About Ordinary Objects.Arthur C. Schwaninger - 2019 - Open Philosophy 2 (1):614-628.
    Under the label of scientific metaphysics, many naturalist metaphysicians are moving away from a priori conceptual analysis and instead seek scientific explanations that will help bring forward a unified understanding of the world. This paper first reviews how our classical assumptions about ordinary objects fail to be true in light of quantum mechanics. The paper then explores how our experiences of ordinary objects arise by reflecting on how our neural system operates algorithmically. Contemporary models and simulations in computational neuroscience are (...)
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  • Active Inference and the Primacy of the ‘I Can’.Jelle Bruineberg - 2017 - Philosophy and Predictive Processing.
    This paper deals with the question of agency and intentionality in the context of the free-energy principle. The free-energy principle is a system-theoretic framework for understanding living self-organizing systems and how they relate to their environments. I will first sketch the main philosophical positions in the literature: a rationalist Helmholtzian interpretation (Hohwy 2013; Clark 2013), a cybernetic interpretation (Seth 2015b) and the enactive affordance-based interpretation (Bruineberg and Rietveld 2014; Bruineberg et al. 2016) and will then show how agency and intentionality (...)
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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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  • Predictive Processing and the Phenomenology of Time Consciousness: A Hierarchical Extension of Rick Grush’s Trajectory Estimation Model.Wanja Wiese - 2017 - Philosophy and Predictive Processing.
    This chapter explores to what extent some core ideas of predictive processing can be applied to the phenomenology of time consciousness. The focus is on the experienced continuity of consciously perceived, temporally extended phenomena (such as enduring processes and successions of events). The main claim is that the hierarchy of representations posited by hierarchical predictive processing models can contribute to a deepened understanding of the continuity of consciousness. Computationally, such models show that sequences of events can be represented as states (...)
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  • The Temporality of Situated Cognition.David H. V. Vogel, Mathis Jording, Christian Kupke & Kai Vogeley - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
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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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  • ‘Seeing the Dark’: Grounding Phenomenal Transparency and Opacity in Precision Estimation for Active Inference.Jakub Limanowski & Karl Friston - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • Spontaneous Cognition and Epistemic Agency in the Cognitive Niche.Regina E. Fabry - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • Tuning in to Art: A Predictive Processing Account of Negative Emotion in Art.Sander Van de Cruys, Rebecca Chamberlain & Johan Wagemans - 2017 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40.
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  • Dynamical Relations in the Self-Pattern.Shaun Gallagher & Anya Daly - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
    Abstract: The notion of a self-pattern, as developed in the pattern theory of self, which holds that the self is best explained in terms of the kind of reality that pertains to a dynamical pattern, acknowledges the importance of neural dynamics, but also expands the account of self to extra-neural (embodied and enactive) dynamics. The pattern theory of self, however, has been criticized for failing to explicate the dynamical relations among elements of the self-pattern; as such, it seems to be (...)
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  • Minimal Phenomenal Experience.Thomas Metzinger - 2020 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 1 (I):1-44.
    This is the first in a series of instalments aiming at a minimal model explanation for conscious experience, taking the phenomenal character of “pure consciousness” or “pure awareness” in meditation as its entry point. It develops the concept of “minimal phenomenal experience” as a candidate for the simplest form of consciousness, substantiating it by extracting six semantic constraints from the existing literature and using sixteen phenomenological case-studies to incrementally flesh out the new working concept. One empirical hypothesis is that the (...)
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  • Attenuating Oneself.Jakub Limanowski & Karl Friston - 2020 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 1 (I):1-16.
    In this paper, we address reports of “selfless” experiences from the perspective of active inference and predictive processing. Our argument builds upon grounding self-modelling in active inference as action planning and precision control within deep generative models – thus establishing a link between computational mechanisms and phenomenal selfhood. We propose that “selfless” experiences can be interpreted as cases in which normally congruent processes of computational and phenomenal self-modelling diverge in an otherwise conscious system. We discuss two potential mechanisms – within (...)
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  • Dissolving the Self.George Deane - 2020 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 1 (I):1-27.
    Psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin, LSD and DMT are known to induce powerful alterations in phenomenology. Perhaps of most philosophical and scientific interest is their capacity to disrupt and even “dissolve” one of the most primary features of normal experience: that of being a self. Such “peak” or “mystical” experiences are of increasing interest for their potentially transformative therapeutic value. While empirical research is underway, a theoretical conception of the mechanisms underpinning these experiences remains elusive. In the following paper, psychedelic-induced (...)
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  • Normatywność antycypacji a normatywność predykcji. Dwa podejścia: fenomenologia i teoria przetwarzania predykcyjnego.Michał Piekarski - 2017 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 8 (3):25-56.
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