Testable or bust: theoretical lessons for predictive processing

Synthese 200 (6):1-18 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The predictive processing account of action, cognition, and perception is one of the most influential approaches to unifying research in cognitive science. However, its promises of grand unification will remain unfulfilled unless the account becomes theoretically robust. In this paper, we focus on empirical commitments of PP, since they are necessary both for its theoretical status to be established and for explanations of individual phenomena to be falsifiable. First, we argue that PP is a varied research tradition, which may employ various kinds of scientific representations, differing in the scope of empirical commitments they entail. Two major perspectives on PP qua cognitive theory may then be distinguished: generalized vs. hierarchical. The first one fails to provide empirical detail, and the latter constrains possible physical implementations. However, we show that even hierarchical PP is insufficiently restrictive to disallow incorrect models and may be adjusted to explain any neurocognitive phenomenon–including non-existent or impossible ones–through flexible adjustments. This renders PP a universal modeling tool with an unrestricted number of degrees of freedom. Therefore, in contrast with declarations of its proponents, it should not be understood as a unifying theoretical perspective, but as a computational framework, possibly informing further theory development in cognitive science.

Similar books and articles

The body in action: Predictive processing and the embodiment thesis.Michael David Kirchhoff - 2018 - In Albert Newen, Leon De Bruin & Shaun Gallagher (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
What? Now. Predictive Coding and Enculturation.Richard Menary - 2015 - In Thomas Metzinger & Jennifer M. Windt (eds.), Open Mind. M.I.T. Press.
The Phenomenology and Predictive Processing of Time in Depression.Zachariah A. Neemeh & Shaun Gallagher - 2020 - In Dina Mendonça, Manuel Curado & Steven S. Gouveia (eds.), The Philosophy and Science of Predictive Processing. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 187-207.
Predictive Processing and Body Representation.Stephen Gadsby & Jakob Hohwy - forthcoming - In Routledge Handbook of Bodily Awareness.
Modularity and the predictive mind.Zoe Drayson - 2017 - T. Metzinger and W. Weise, (Eds), Philosophy and Predictive Processing.
Predictive coding? Yes, but from what source?Gregory Hickok - 2013 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (4):358-358.
Folk Psychology and the Bayesian Brain.Joe Dewhurst - 2017 - In Metzinger Thomas & Wiese Wanja (eds.), Philosophy and Predictive Processing. MIND Group.

Analytics

Added to PP
2022-11-03

Downloads
288 (#65,770)

6 months
139 (#20,865)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Marcin Miłkowski
Polish Academy of Sciences

References found in this work

Vision.David Marr - 1982 - W. H. Freeman.
The Predictive Mind.Jakob Hohwy - 2013 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Metaphors we live by.George Lakoff & Mark Johnson - 1980 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Mark Johnson.
Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

View all 44 references / Add more references