Predictive processing (PP) has been repeatedly presented as a unificatory account of perception, action, and cognition. In this paper, we argue that this is premature: As a unifying theory, PP fails to deliver general, simple, homogeneous, and systematic explanations. By examining its current trajectory of development, we conclude that PP remains only loosely connected both to its computational framework and to its hypothetical biological underpinnings, which makes its fundamentals unclear. Instead of offering explanations that refer to the same set of (...) principles, we observe systematic equivocations in PP‐based models, or outright contradictions with its avowed principles. To make matters worse, PP‐based models are seldom empirically validated, and they are frequently offered as mere just‐so stories. The large number of PP‐based models is thus not evidence of theoretical progress in unifying perception, action, and cognition. On the contrary, we maintain that the gap between theory and its biological and computational bases contributes to the arrested development of PP as a unificatory theory. Thus, we urge the defenders of PP to focus on its critical problems instead of offering mere re‐descriptions of known phenomena, and to validate their models against possible alternative explanations that stem from different theoretical assumptions. Otherwise, PP will ultimately fail as a unified theory of cognition. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Predictive processing models of psychopathologies are not explanatorily consistent with the present account of abstract thought. These models are based on latent variables probabilistically mapping the structure of the world. As such, they cannot be informed by representational ontology based on mental objects and states. What actually is the case is merely some terminological affinity between subjective and informational uncertainty.
Bruineberg and colleagues criticisms' have been received but downplayed in the free energy principle (FEP) literature. We strengthen their points, arguing that Friston blanket discovery, even if tractable, requires a full formal description of the system of interest at the outset. Hence, blanket metaphysics is futile, and we postulate that researchers should turn back to heuristic uses of Pearl blankets.
The problem of the cognitive penetrability of perception pertains to whether perceptual processing may be impacted by higher-order cognitive processes. It may be understood in a twofold sense: 1) whether what a perceptual system computes may be altered in a way that is semantically coherent to one’s cognitive states; 2) whether perceptual experience may be influenced by cognitive processes. It has been argued that the cognitive penetrability problem is not scientifically tractable since we have no direct access to other persons’ (...) subjective experiences and, therefore, we have to rely on their reports, which are mediated by higher-order processes (e.g., judgments). In this paper, I analyze the scope of methods harnessed in contemporary work on the penetrability of perception, focusing particularly on methods from experimental psychology and neuroscience. Among them, I indicate the most promising techniques and paradigms, as well as those that are inadequate to successfully tackling the problem. I also discuss experimental results which unequivocally suggest direct influences on perception which have not been addressed to date by supporters of the view that perception is impenetrable. I also describe the predictive processing theory of cognition, focusing on how it contributes to our understanding of cognitive penetrability, and discuss scientific results validating the theory. In conclusion, converging empirical evidence seems to suggest that perception is cognitively penetrable and we seem to be at the dawn of the ultimate solution of the problem. (shrink)
Celem artykułu jest analiza trwającej w środowisku filozoficznym debaty na temat możliwości wykorzystywania najnowszych osiągnięć naukowych z zakresu farmakologii, psychiatrii czy technologii informatycznej w zamiarze usprawniania sfery emocjonalnej człowieka. Perspektywa przedstawicieli ruchu transhumanistycznego uznaje, że wzmocnienia afektywne niosą ze sobą potencjał uwolnienia wszystkich świadomych istot od cierpienia oraz zapewnienia im szczęścia przez całe życie. W artykule analizowane są główne argumenty transhumanisty i filozofa Davida Pearce’a i jego programu Imperatywu Hedonistycznego. Następnie podejmuje się refleksję nad rolą i strukturą emocji w ludzkim (...) życiu, a także nad warunkami, które musiałyby spełnić środki umożliwiające osiągnięcie „permanentnego uśmiechu”, to jest nad metodami wzmocnienia afektywnego, które ograniczałyby negatywne oddziaływanie emocji na jednostkę. Analiza teoretycznych założeń projektu transhumanistycznego zostaje rozszerzona o przegląd obecnie dostępnych środków farmakologicznych oraz informatycznych, które przyczyniałyby się do wzmocnienia afektywnego człowieka i innych istot świadomych. Prowadzona analiza skupiać będzie się na dwóch rzędach ludzkiej sfery afektywnej: (1) emocjach i (2) metaemocjach. Wykazuje się, że wszelkie interwencje transhumanistyczne powinny uwzględniać kwestię autentyczności sądów wydawanych na poziomie metaemocjonalnym. (shrink)