Vanilla PP for Philosophers: A Primer on Predictive Processing

Philosophy and Predictive Processing (2017)
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Abstract

The goal of this short chapter, aimed at philosophers, is to provide an overview and brief explanation of some central concepts involved in predictive processing (PP). Even those who consider themselves experts on the topic may find it helpful to see how the central terms are used in this collection. To keep things simple, we will first informally define a set of features important to predictive processing, supplemented by some short explanations and an alphabetic glossary. The features described here are not shared in all PP accounts. Some may not be necessary for an individual model; others may be contested. Indeed, not even all authors of this collection will accept all of them. To make this transparent, we have encouraged contributors to indicate briefly which of the features are necessary to support the arguments they provide, and which (if any) are incompatible with their account. For the sake of clarity, we provide the complete list here, very roughly ordered by how central we take them to be for “Vanilla PP” (i.e., a formulation of predictive processing that will probably be accepted by most researchers working on this topic). More detailed explanations will be given below. Note that these features do not specify individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for the application of the concept of “predictive processing”. All we currently have is a semantic cluster, with perhaps some overlapping sets of jointly sufficient criteria. The framework is still developing, and it is difficult, maybe impossible, to provide theory-neutral explanations of all PP ideas without already introducing strong background assumptions.

Author Profiles

Wanja Wiese
Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz
Thomas Metzinger
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

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