Synthese 198 (14):3463–3488 (2021)

Authors
Matteo Colombo
Tilburg University
Cory Wright
California State University, Long Beach
Abstract
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 unclear is how the free-energy principle relates to prominent theoretical approaches to life science phenomena, such as organicism and mechanism. This paper clarifies both issues, and identifies limits and prospects for the free-energy principle as a first principle in the life sciences.
Keywords free energy  first principles  mechanism  organicism  biological systems  adaptive behavior
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Reprint years 2018
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-01932-w
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References found in this work BETA

Idealization and the Aims of Science.Angela Potochnik - 2017 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
The New Mechanical Philosophy.Stuart Glennan - 2017 - Oxford University Press.

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