Whatever next? Predictive brains, situated agents, and the future of cognitive science

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (3):181-204 (2013)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Brains, it has recently been argued, are essentially prediction machines. They are bundles of cells that support perception and action by constantly attempting to match incoming sensory inputs with top-down expectations or predictions. This is achieved using a hierarchical generative model that aims to minimize prediction error within a bidirectional cascade of cortical processing. Such accounts offer a unifying model of perception and action, illuminate the functional role of attention, and may neatly capture the special contribution of cortical processing to adaptive success. This target article critically examines this approach, concluding that it offers the best clue yet to the shape of a unified science of mind and action. Sections 1 and 2 lay out the key elements and implications of the approach. Section 3 explores a variety of pitfalls and challenges, spanning the evidential, the methodological, and the more properly conceptual. The paper ends (sections 4 and 5) by asking how such approaches might impact our more general vision of mind, experience, and agency.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,197

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The self as an embedded agent.Chris Dobbyn & Susan A. J. Stuart - 2003 - Minds and Machines 13 (2):187-201.
Situated cognition.Peter Slezak - 1999 - Perspectives on Cognitive Science.
How to situate cognition: Letting nature take its course.Robert A. Wilson & Andy Clark - 2009 - In Murat Aydede & P. Robbins (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 55--77.
Useful Theories Make Predictions.Andrew Howes - 2012 - Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (1):84-86.
Psychology in Cognitive Science: 1978–2038.Dedre Gentner - 2010 - Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (3):328-344.

Analytics

Added to PP
2013-11-21

Downloads
605 (#29,444)

6 months
139 (#26,478)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Andy Clark
University of Sussex

References found in this work

The extended mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
The Bounds of Cognition.Frederick Adams & Kenneth Aizawa - 2008 - Malden, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by Kenneth Aizawa.
Consciousness Explained.William G. Lycan - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (3):424.
A Dynamic Systems Approach to the Development of Cognition and Action.David Morris, E. Thelen & L. B. Smith - 1997 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 11 (2).

View all 48 references / Add more references