Letheby’s "Philosophy of Psychedelics" relies on PredictiveProcessing to try and find unifying explanations relevant to understanding how serotonergic psychedelics work in psychiatric therapy, what subjective experiences are associated with their use and whether such experiences are epistemically defective. But if PredictiveProcessing lacks genuinely explanatory unifying power, Letheby’s account of psychedelic therapy risks being unwarranted. In this commentary, I motivate this worry and sketch an alternative interpretation of psychedelic therapy within the Reinforcement Learning framework.
This book is forthcoming in Routledge. Here is the barest sketch of our aims: -/- We have two aims in this book. First, we aim to persuade you that conscious experience is sometimes realised by cycles of embodied and world-involving engagement. Second, we aim to persuade you that it is possible to develop and defend the thesis of extended consciousness through the increasingly powerful predictiveprocessing theory developed in cognitive neuroscience.
This paper examines the relationship between perceiving and imagining on the basis of predictiveprocessing models in neuroscience. Contrary to the received view in philosophy of mind, which holds that perceiving and imagining are essentially distinct, these models depict perceiving and imagining as deeply unified and overlapping. It is argued that there are two mutually exclusive implications of taking perception and imagination to be fundamentally unified. The view defended is what I dub the ecological–enactive view given that it (...) does not succumb to internalism about the mind-world relation, and allows one to keep a version of the received view in play. (shrink)
In Probability Designs, Karin Kukkonen presents the predictiveprocessing model of cognition as a means of exploring narrative structure and reader experience. Utilizing the literary canon of various cultures, Kukkonen combines theory and cognitive science to analyze how reader expectation and prediction shape literature, and how literature accomplishes cognitive feats that determine the human capacity for free, exploratory thought.
Clark has recently suggested that predictiveprocessing advances a theory of neural function with the resources to put an ecumenical end to the “representation wars” of recent cognitive science. In this paper I defend and develop this suggestion. First, I broaden the representation wars to include three foundational challenges to representational cognitive science. Second, I articulate three features of predictiveprocessing’s account of internal representation that distinguish it from more orthodox representationalist frameworks. Specifically, I argue that (...) it posits a resemblance-based representational architecture with organism-relative contents that functions in the service of pragmatic success, not veridical representation. Finally, I argue that internal representation so understood is either impervious to the three anti-representationalist challenges I outline or can actively embrace them. (shrink)
The objective of this article was to review existing research to assess the evidence for predictiveprocessing in sign language, the conditions under which it occurs, and the effects of language mastery on the neural bases of PP. This review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses framework. We searched peer-reviewed electronic databases and gray literature. We also searched the reference lists of records selected for the review and forward citations to identify all relevant publications. (...) We searched for records based on five criteria. To reduce the risk of bias, the remaining two authors with expertise in sign language processing and a variety of research methods reviewed the results. Disagreements were resolved through extensive discussion. In the final review, 7 records were included, of which 5 were published articles and 2 were dissertations. The reviewed records provide evidence for PP in signing populations, although the underlying mechanism in the visual modality is not clear. The reviewed studies addressed the motor simulation proposals, neural basis of PP, as well as the development of PP. All studies used dynamic sign stimuli. Most of the studies focused on semantic prediction. The question of the mechanism for the interaction between one’s sign language competence and PP in the manual-visual modality remains unclear, primarily due to the scarcity of participants with varying degrees of language dominance. There is a paucity of evidence for PP in sign languages, especially for frequency-based, phonetic, and syntactic prediction. However, studies published to date indicate that Deaf native/native-like L1 signers predict linguistic information during sign language processing, suggesting that PP is an amodal property of language processing.Systematic Review Registration[https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?ID=CRD42021238911], identifier [CRD42021238911]. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that, by combining eliminativist and fictionalist approaches toward the sub-personal representational posits of predictiveprocessing, we arrive at an empirically robust and yet metaphysically innocuous cognitive scientific framework. I begin the paper by providing a non-representational account of the five key posits of predictiveprocessing. Then, I motivate a fictionalist approach toward the remaining indispensable representational posits of predictiveprocessing, and explain how representation can play an epistemologically indispensable role (...) within predictiveprocessing explanations without thereby requiring that representation metaphysically exists. Finally, I outline four consequences of accepting this approach and explain why they are beneficial: we arrive at a victory for metaphysical eliminativism in the ‘representation wars’; my account fits with extant empirical practice; my account provides guidance for future research; and, my account provides the beginnings of a response to Mark Sprevak’s IBE problem for fictionalist approaches toward sub-personal representation. (shrink)
Predictiveprocessing (PP) is now a prominent theoretical framework in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. This review focuses on PP research with a relatively philosophical focus, taking stock of the framework and discussing new directions. The review contains an introduction that describes the full PP toolbox; an exploration of areas where PP has advanced understanding of perceptual and cognitive phenomena; a discussion of PP's impact on foundational issues in cognitive science; and a consideration of the philosophy (...) of science of PP. The overall picture is that PP is a fruitful framework, with exciting new directions awaiting exploration. (shrink)
We introduce the predictiveprocessing account of body representation, according to which body representation emerges via a domain-general scheme of (long-term) prediction error minimisation. We contrast this account against one where body representation is underpinned by domain-specific systems, whose exclusive function is to track the body. We illustrate how the predictiveprocessing account offers considerable advantages in explaining various empirical findings, and we draw out some implications for body representation research.
This chapter explores to what extent some core ideas of predictiveprocessing can be applied to the phenomenology of time consciousness. The focus is on the experienced continuity of consciously perceived, temporally extended phenomena (such as enduring processes and successions of events). The main claim is that the hierarchy of representations posited by hierarchical predictiveprocessing models can contribute to a deepened understanding of the continuity of consciousness. Computationally, such models show that sequences of events can (...) be represented as states of a hierarchy of dynamical systems. Phenomenologically, they suggest a more fine-grained analysis of the perceptual contents of the specious present, in terms of a hierarchy of temporal wholes. Visual perception of static scenes not only contains perceived objects and regions but also spatial gist; similarly, auditory perception of temporal sequences, such as melodies, involves not only perceiving individual notes but also slightly more abstract features (temporal gist), which have longer temporal durations (e.g., emotional character or rhythm). Further investigations into these elusive contents of conscious perception may be facilitated by findings regarding its neural underpinnings. Predictiveprocessing models suggest that sensorimotor areas may influence these contents. (shrink)
The search for the neural correlates of consciousness is in need of a systematic, principled foundation that can endow putative neural correlates with greater predictive and explanatory value. Here, we propose the predictiveprocessing framework for brain function as a promising candidate for providing this systematic foundation. The proposal is motivated by that framework’s ability to address three general challenges to identifying the neural correlates of consciousness, and to satisfy two constraints common to many theories of consciousness. (...) Implementing the search for neural correlates of consciousness through the lens of predictiveprocessing delivers strong potential for predictive and explanatory value through detailed, systematic mappings between neural substrates and phenomenological structure. We conclude that the predictiveprocessing framework, precisely because it at the outset is not itself a theory of consciousness, has significant potential for advancing the neuroscience of consciousness. (shrink)
Recent work by Stout and colleagues indicates that the neural correlates of language and Early Stone Age toolmaking overlap significantly. The aim of this paper is to add computational detail to their findings. I use an error minimisation model to outline where the information processing overlap between toolmaking and language lies. I argue that the Early Stone Age signals the emergence of complex structured representations. I then highlight a feature of my account: It allows us to understand the early (...) evolution of syntax in terms of an increase in the number and complexity of models in a cognitive system, rather than the development of new types of processing. (shrink)
PredictiveProcessing theory, hotly debated in neuroscience, psychology and philosophy, promises to explain a number of perceptual and cognitive phenomena in a simple and elegant manner. In some of its versions, the theory is ambitiously advertised as a new theory of conscious perception. The task of this paper is to assess whether this claim is realistic. We will be arguing that the PredictiveProcessing theory cannot explain the transition from unconscious to conscious perception in its proprietary (...) terms. The explanations offer by PP theorists mostly concern the preconditions of conscious perception, leaving the genuine material substrate of consciousness untouched. (shrink)
Whilst the topic of representations is one of the key topics in philosophy of mind, it has only occasionally been noted that representations and representational features may be gradual. Apart from vague allusions, little has been said on what representational gradation amounts to and why it could be explanatorily useful. The aim of this paper is to provide a novel take on gradation of representational features within the neuroscientific framework of predictiveprocessing. More specifically, we provide a gradual (...) account of two features of structural representations: structural similarity and decoupling. We argue that structural similarity can be analysed in terms of two dimensions: number of preserved relations and state space granularity. Both dimensions can take on different values and hence render structural similarity gradual. We further argue that decoupling is gradual in two ways. First, we show that different brain areas are involved in decoupled cognitive processes to a greater or lesser degree depending on the cause of their activity. Second, and more importantly, we show that the degree of decoupling can be further regulated in some brain areas through precision weighting of prediction error. We lastly argue that gradation of decoupling and gradation of structural similarity are conducive to behavioural success. (shrink)
This paper starts by considering an argument for thinking that predictiveprocessing (PP) is representational. This argument suggests that the Kullback–Leibler (KL)-divergence provides an accessible measure of misrepresentation, and therefore, a measure of representational content in hierarchical Bayesian inference. The paper then argues that while the KL-divergence is a measure of information, it does not establish a sufficient measure of representational content. We argue that this follows from the fact that the KL-divergence is a measure of relative entropy, (...) which can be shown to be the same as covariance (through a set of additional steps). It is well known that facts about covariance do not entail facts about representational content. So there is no reason to think that the KL-divergence is a measure of (mis-)representational content. This paper thus provides an enactive, non-representational account of Bayesian belief optimisation in hierarchical PP. (shrink)
Despite their popularity, relatively scant attention has been paid to the upshot of Bayesian and predictiveprocessing models of cognition for views of overall cognitive architecture. Many of these models are hierarchical ; they posit generative models at multiple distinct "levels," whose job is to predict the consequences of sensory input at lower levels. I articulate one possible position that could be implied by these models, namely, that there is a continuous hierarchy of perception, cognition, and action control (...) comprising levels of generative models. I argue that this view is not entailed by a general Bayesian/predictiveprocessing outlook. Bayesian approaches are compatible with distinct formats of mental representation. Focusing on Bayesian approaches to motor control, I argue that the junctures between different types of mental representation are places where the transitivity of hierarchical prediction may be broken, and I consider the upshot of this conclusion for broader discussions of cognitive architecture. (shrink)
This paper aims to provide a theoretical framework for explaining the subjective character of pain experience in terms of what we will call ‘embodied predictiveprocessing’. The predictiveprocessing (PP) theory is a family of views that take perception, action, emotion and cognition to all work together in the service of prediction error minimisation. In this paper we propose an embodied perspective on the PP theory we call the ‘embodied predictiveprocessing (EPP) theory. The (...) EPP theory proposes to explain pain in terms of processes distributed across the whole body. The prediction error minimising system that generates pain experience comprises the immune system, the endocrine system, and the autonomic system in continuous causal interaction with pathways spread across the whole neural axis. We will argue that these systems function in a coordinated and coherent manner as a single complex adaptive system to maintain homeostasis. This system, which we refer to as the neural-endocrine-immune (NEI) system, maintains homeostasis through the process of prediction error minimisation. We go on to propose a view of the NEI ensemble as a multiscale nesting of Markov blankets that integrates the smallest scale of the cell to the largest scale of the embodied person in pain. We set out to show how the EPP theory can make sense of how pain experience could be neurobiologically constituted. We take it to be a constraint on the adequacy of a scientific explanation of subjectivity of pain experience that it makes it intelligible how pain can simultaneously be a local sensing of the body, and, at the same time, a more global, all-encompassing attitude towards the environment. Our aim in what follows is to show how the EPP theory can meet this constraint. (shrink)
Predictiveprocessing accounts of perception assume that perception does not work in a purely bottom-up fashion but also uses acquired knowledge to make top-down predictions about the incoming sensory signals. This provides a challenge for foundationalist accounts of perception according to which perceptual beliefs are epistemically basic, that is, epistemically independent from other beliefs. If prior beliefs rationally influence which perceptual beliefs we come to accept, then foundationalism about perception appears untenable. I review several ways in which foundationalism (...) might be reconciled with PP from both an internalist and externalist perspective, and argue that an externalist foundationalism provides the best match with PP. (shrink)
The Bayesian brain hypothesis provides an attractive unifying framework for perception, cognition, and action. We argue that the framework can also usefully integrate interoception, the sense of the internal physiological condition of the body. Our model of entails a new view of emotion as interoceptive inference and may account for a range of psychiatric disorders of selfhood.
Many philosophers claim that the neurocomputational framework of predictiveprocessing entails a globally inferentialist and representationalist view of cognition. Here, I contend that this is not correct. I argue that, given the theoretical commitments these philosophers endorse, no structure within predictiveprocessing systems can be rightfully identified as a representational vehicle. To do so, I first examine some of the theoretical commitments these philosophers share, and show that these commitments provide a set of necessary conditions the (...) satisfaction of which allows us to identify representational vehicles. Having done so, I introduce a predictiveprocessing system capable of active inference, in the form of a simple robotic “brain”. I examine it thoroughly, and show that, given the necessary conditions highlighted above, none of its components qualifies as a representational vehicle. I then consider and allay some worries my claim could raise. I consider whether the anti-representationalist verdict thus obtained could be generalized, and provide some reasons favoring a positive answer. I further consider whether my arguments here could be blocked by allowing the same representational vehicle to possess multiple contents, and whether my arguments entail some extreme form of revisionism, answering in the negative in both cases. A quick conclusion follows. (shrink)
PredictiveProcessing accounts of Cognition, PPC, promise to forge productive alliances that will unite approaches that are otherwise at odds. Can it? This paper argues that it can’t—or at least not so long as it sticks with the cognitivist rendering that Clark and others favor. In making this case the argument of this paper unfolds as follows: Sect. 1 describes the basics of PPC—its attachment to the idea that we perceive the world by guessing the world. It then (...) details the reasons why so many find cognitivist interpretations to be inevitable. Section 2 examines how prominent proponents of cognitivist PPC have proposed dealing with a fundamental problem that troubles their accounts—the question of how the brain is able to get into the great guessing game in the first place. It is argued that on close inspection Clark’s solution, which he calls bootstrap heaven is—once we take a realistic look at the situation of the brain—in fact bootstrap hell. Section 3 argues that it is possible to avoid dwelling in bootstrap hell if one adopts a radically enactive take on PPC. A brief sketch of what this might look like is provided. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue for an embodied, embedded approach to predictiveprocessing and thus align the framework with situated cognition. The recent popularity of theories conceiving of the brain as a predictive organ has given rise to two broad camps in the literature that I call free energy enactivism and cognitivist predictiveprocessing. The two approaches vary in scope and methodology. The scope of cognitivist predictiveprocessing is narrow and restricts cognition to (...) brain processes and structures; it does not consider the body-beyond-brain and the environment as constituents of cognitive processes. Free energy enactivism, on the other hand, includes all self-organizing systems that minimize free energy and thus does not offer any unique explanations for more complex cognitive phenomena that are unique to human cognition. Furthermore, because of its strong commitment to the mind-life continuity thesis, it does not provide an explanation of what distinguishes more sophisticated cognitive systems from simple systems. The account that I develop in this paper rejects both of these radical extremes. Instead, I propose a compromise that highlights the necessary components of predictiveprocessing by making use of a mechanistic methodology of explanation. The starting point of the argument in this paper is that despite the interchangeable use of the terms, prediction error minimization and the free energy principle are not identical. But this distinction does not need to disrupt the status quo of the literature if we consider an alternative approach: Embodied, Embedded PredictiveProcessing. EEPP accommodates the free energy principle, as argued for by free energy enactivism, but it also allows for mental representations in its explanation of cognition. Furthermore, EEPP explains how prediction error minimization is realized but, unlike cognitivist PP, it allocates a constitutive role to the body in cognition. Despite highlighting concerns regarding cognitivist PP, I do not wish to discredit the role of the neural domain or representations as free energy enactivism does. Neural structures and processes undeniably contribute to the minimization of prediction error but the role of the body is equally important. On my account, prediction error minimization and free energy minimization are deeply dependent on the body of an agent, such that the body-beyond-brain plays a constitutive role in cognitive processing. I suggest that the body plays three constitutive roles in prediction error minimization: The body regulates cognitive activity, ensuring that cognition and action are intricately linked. The body acts as distributor in the sense that it carries some of the cognitive load by fulfilling the function of minimizing prediction error. Finally, the body serves to constrain the information that is processed by an agent. In fulfilling these three roles, the agent and environment enter into a bidirectional relation through influencing and modeling the structure of the other. This connects EEPP to the free energy principle because the whole embodied agent minimizes free energy in virtue of being a model of its econiche. This grants the body a constitutive role as part of the collection of mechanisms that minimize prediction error and free energy. The body can only fulfill its role when embedded in an environment, of which it is a model. In this sense, EEPP offers the most promising alternative to cognitivist predictiveprocessing and free energy enactivism. (shrink)
The aim of this commentary is to underpin Duffley’s notion of a stable mental content that corresponds to the literal word meaning with a computationally plausible cognitive theory. Our approach is to investigate what these stable contents could be according to the so-called PredictiveProcessing architecture. We argue that recent advances in cognitive science can make at least two contributions to the debate. First, they can provide some underpinning of Duffley's ideas of a stable linguistic meaning associated with (...) the sign. Second, they provide resources to understand how the semiological principle is compatible with a dynamic and flexible notion of "meaning". (shrink)
In this paper we argue that predictiveprocessing (PP) theory cannot account for the phenomenon of affect-biased attention prioritized attention to stimuli that are affectively salient because of their associations with reward or punishment. Specifically, the PP hypothesis that selective attention can be analyzed in terms of the optimization of precision expectations cannot accommodate affect-biased attention; affectively salient stimuli can capture our attention even when precision expectations are low. We review the prospects of three recent attempts to accommodate (...) affect with tools internal to PP theory: Miller and Clark’s (2018) embodied inference; Seth’s (2013) interoceptive inference; and Joffily and Coricelli’s (2013) rate of change of free energy. In each case we argue that the account does not resolve the challenge from affect-biased attention. For this reason, we conclude that prediction error minimization is not sufficient to explain all mental phenomena, contrary to the claim that the PP framework provides a unified theory of all mental phenomena or the brain ‘s cognitive functioning. Nevertheless, we suggest that empirical investigation of the interaction between affective salience and precision expectations should prove helpful in understanding the limits of PP theory, and may provide new directions for the application of a Bayesian perspective to perception. (shrink)
In this paper I propose minimal criteria for a successful theory of the mechanisms of motivation, and argue that extant philosophical accounts fail to meet them. Further, I argue that a predictiveprocessing framework gives us the theoretical power to meet these criteria, and thus ought to be preferred over existing theories. The argument proceeds as follows—motivational mental states are generally understood as mental states with the power to initiate, guide, and control action, though few existing theories of (...) motivation explicitly detail how they are meant to explain these functions. I survey two contemporary theories of motivational mental states, due to Wayne Wu and Bence Nanay, and argue that they fail to satisfactorily explain one or more of these functions. Nevertheless, I argue that together, they are capable of giving a strong account of the control function, which competing theories ought to preserve. I then go on to argue that what I call the ‘predictive theory’ of motivational mental states, which makes use of the notion of active inference, is able to explain all three of the key functions and preserves the central insights of Wu and Nanay on control. It thus represents a significant step forward in the contemporary debate. (shrink)
The goal of this short chapter, aimed at philosophers, is to provide an overview and brief explanation of some central concepts involved in predictiveprocessing (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 predictiveprocessing, 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 predictiveprocessing 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 “predictiveprocessing”. 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. (shrink)
Events and event prediction are pivotal concepts across much of cognitive science, as demonstrated by the papers in this special issue. We first discuss how the study of events and the predictiveprocessing framework may fruitfully inform each other. We then briefly point to some links to broader philosophical questions about events.
Predictiveprocessing is an increasingly popular approach to cognition, perception and action. It says that the brain is essentially a hierarchical prediction machine. It is typically construed in a representationalist and inferentialist fashion so that the brain makes contentful inferences on the basis of representational models. In this paper, I argue that the predictiveprocessing framework is inconsistent with this epistemic position. In particular, I argue that the combination of hierarchical modeling, contentful inferentialism and representationalism entail (...) an internal inconsistency. Specifically, for a particular set of states, there will be both a representation requirement and not. Yet a system cannot both be required to represent a certain set of states and not be required to represent those states. Due to this contradiction, I propose to reject the standard view. I suggest that predictiveprocessing is best interpreted in terms of reliable covariation instead, entailing an instrumentalist approach to the statistical machinery. (shrink)
Predictiveprocessing accounts of neural function view the brain as a kind of prediction machine that forms models of its environment in order to anticipate the upcoming stream of sensory stimulation. These models are then continuously updated in light of incoming error signals. Predictiveprocessing has offered a powerful new perspective on cognition, action, and perception. In this chapter we apply the insights from predictiveprocessing to the study of emotions. The upshot is a (...) picture of emotion as inseparable from perception and cognition, and a key feature of the embodied mind. (shrink)
A number of perceptual illusions present problems for predictiveprocessing accounts. In this chapter we’ll review explanations of the Müller-Lyer Illusion, the Rubber Hand Illusion and the Alien Hand Illusion based on the idea of Prediction Error Minimization, and show why they fail. In spite of the relatively open communicative processes which, on many accounts, are posited between hierarchical levels of the cognitive system in order to facilitate the minimization of prediction errors, perceptual illusions seemingly allow prediction errors (...) to rule. Even if, at the top, we have reliable and secure knowledge that the lines in the MLI are equal, or that the rubber hand in the RHI is not our hand, the system seems unable to correct for sensory errors that form the illusion. We argue that the standard PEM explanation based on a short-circuiting principle doesn’t work. This is the idea that where there are general statistical regularities in the environment there is a kind of short circuiting such that relevant priors are relegated to lower-level processing so that information from higher levels is not exchanged, or is not as precise as it should be. Such solutions violate the idea of open communication and/or they over-discount the reliable and secure knowledge that is in the system. We propose an alternative, 4E solution. We argue that PEM fails to take into account the ‘structural resistance’ introduced by material and cultural factors in the broader cognitive system. (shrink)
Recent work in cognitive and computational neuroscience depicts human brains as devices that minimize prediction error signals: signals that encode the difference between actual and expected sensory stimulations. This raises a series of puzzles whose common theme concerns a potential misfit between this bedrock informationtheoretic vision and familiar facts about the attractions of the unexpected. We humans often seem to actively seek out surprising events, deliberately harvesting novel and exciting streams of sensory stimulation. Conversely, we often experience some wellexpected sensations (...) as unpleasant and to-be-avoided. In this paper, I explore several core and variant forms of this puzzle, using them to display multiple interacting elements that together deliver a satisfying solution. That solution requires us to go beyond the discussion of simple information-theoretic imperatives and to recognize the essential role of species-specific prestructuring, epistemic foraging, and cultural practices in shaping the restless, curious, novelty-seeking human mind. (shrink)
Recent work in cognitive and computational neuroscience depicts the brain as in some sense implementing probabilistic inference. This suggests a puzzle. If the processing that enables perceptual experience involves representing or approximating probability distributions, why does experience itself appear univocal and determinate, apparently bearing no traces of those probabilistic roots? In this paper, I canvass a range of responses, including the denial of univocality and determinacy itself. I argue that there is reason to think that it is our conception (...) of perception itself that is flawed. Once we see perception aright, as the slave of action, the puzzlement recedes. Perceptual determinacy reflects only the mundane fact that we are embodied, active, agents who must constantly engage the world they perceptually encounter. (shrink)
Predictiveprocessing (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)
Beginning with a survey of the shortcoming of theories of organology/media-as-externalization of mind/body—a philosophical-anthropological tradition that stretches from Plato through Ernst Kapp and finds its contemporary proponent in Bernard Stiegler—I propose that the phenomenological treatment of media as an outpouching and extension of mind qua intentionality is not sufficient to counter the ̳black-box‘ mystification of today‘s deep learning‘s algorithms. Focusing on a close study of Simondon‘s On the Existence of Technical Objectsand Individuation, I argue that the process-philosophical work of Gilbert (...) Simondon, with its critique of Norbert Wiener‘s first-order cybernetics, offers a precursor to the conception of second-order cybernetics (as endorsed byFrancisco Varela, Humberto Maturana, and Ricardo B. Uribe) and, specifically, its autopoietic treatment of information. It has been argued by those such as Frank Pasquale that neuro-inferential deep learning systems premised on predictive patterning, suchas AlphaGo Zero, have a veiled logic and, thus, are ̳black boxes‘. In detailing a philosophical-historical approach to demystify predictive patterning/processing and the logic of such deep learning algorithms, this paper attempts to shine a light on such systems and their inner workingsàla Simondon. (shrink)
This chapter considers the possible convergence of predictiveprocessing and embodied cognition. It is argued that the embodied view of cognition comprises a subset (if not all) of the following theses: (1) the constitutive thesis, (2) the nonrepresentational thesis, (3) the cognitive-affective inseparability thesis, and (iv) the metaplasticity thesis. It is then argued that predictiveprocessing is prima facie at odds with some (if not all) of these embodied cognition theses. The reason is that predictive (...)processing is often understood in epistemic, inferential, and representational terms, promoting an internalist and skepticism-prone view of the mind-world relation. The chapter proceeds to establish that this perceived tension between predictiveprocessing and embodied cognition can be overcome. The chapter concludes that it is possible to accept predictiveprocessing and endorse all four theses central to the embodied view of cognition. (shrink)
Some naturalistic philosophers of mind subscribing to the predictiveprocessing theory of mind have adopted a realist attitude towards the results of Bayesian cognitive science. In this paper, we argue that this realist attitude is unwarranted. The Bayesian research program in cognitive science does not possess special epistemic virtues over alternative approaches for explaining mental phenomena involving uncertainty. In particular, the Bayesian approach is not simpler, more unifying, or more rational than alternatives. It is also contentious that the (...) Bayesian approach is overall better supported by the empirical evidence. So, to develop philosophical theories of mind on the basis of a realist interpretation of results from Bayesian cognitive science is unwarranted. Naturalistic philosophers of mind should instead adopt an anti-realist attitude towards these results and remain agnostic as to whether Bayesian models are true. For continuing on with an exclusive focus and praise of Bayes within debates about the predictiveprocessing theory will impede progress in philosophical understanding of scientific practice in computational cognitive science as well as of the architecture of the mind. (shrink)
What is the relationship between the concepts of the predictiveprocessing theory of brain functioning and the everyday concepts with which people conduct and explain their mental lives? To answer this question, we focus on predictiveprocessing explanations of mental disorder that appeal to false inference. After distinguishing two concepts of false inference, we survey four ways of understanding the relationship between explanations of mental phenomena at the personal and sub-personal level. We then argue that if (...)predictiveprocessing accurately accounts for psychological and socio-cultural dynamics, then personal and sub-personal concepts must display a looping relationship that can impact the nature of at least some mental phenomena. In particular, explaining the phenomenon of delusion in terms of the sub-personal concept of false inference should change the nature of delusional experiences themselves. (shrink)
In this chapter we first elucidate the subjective flow of time particularly as developed by Husserl. We next discuss time and timescales in predictiveprocessing. We then consider how the phenomenological analysis of time can be naturalized within a predictiveprocessing framework. In the final section, we develop an analysis of the temporal disturbances characteristic of depression using the resources of both phenomenology and predictiveprocessing.
Starting from a decidedly Frijdian perspective on emotion in action, we adopt neurocognitive theories of action control to analyze the mechanisms through which emotional action arises. Appraisal of events vis-à-vis concerns gives rise to a determinate motive to establish a specific state of the world; the pragmatic idea of the action’s effects incurs the valuation of action options and a change in action readiness in the form of incipient ideomotor capture of the selected action. Forward modeling of the sensory consequences (...) of the selected action option allows for the evaluation and fine-tuning of anticipated action effects, which renders the emotional action impulsive yet purposive. This novel theoretical synthesis depicts the cornerstone principles for a mechanistic view on emotion in action. (shrink)
Consciousness vehicle externalism is the claim that the material machinery of a subject’s phenomenology partially leaks outside a subject’s brain, encompassing bodily and environmental structures. The DEUTS argument is the most prominent argument for CVE in the sensorimotor enactivists’ arsenal. In a recent series of publications, Kirchhoff and Kiverstein have deployed such an argument to claim that a prominent view of neural processing, namely predictiveprocessing, is fully compatible with CVE. Indeed, in Kirchhoff and Kiverstein’s view, a (...) proper understanding of predictiveprocessing mandates CVE. In this essay, we critically examine Kirchhoff and Kiverstein’s argument. Our aim is to argue in favor of the following three points. First, that Kirchhoff and Kiverstein’s emphasis on cultural practices lends no support to CVE: at best, it vindicates some form of content externalism about phenomenal content. Secondly, the criteria Kirchhoff and Kiverstein propose to identify a subject’s phenomenal machinery greatly overgeneralize, leaving them open to a “consciousness bloat” objection, which is an analog of the cognitive bloat objection against the extended mind. Lastly, we will argue that the “consciousness bloat” problem is inbuilt in the very argumentative structure of the DEUTS argument. We will thus conclude that, contrary to the philosophical mainstream, DEUTS is not the best argument for CVE in the sensorimotor enactivists’ argumentative arsenal. (shrink)
Predictiveprocessing 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.
Predictions during language comprehension are currently discussed from many points of view. One area where predictiveprocessing may play a particular role concerns poetic language that is regularized by meter and rhyme, thus allowing strong predictions regarding the timing and stress of individual syllables. While there is growing evidence that these prosodic regularities influence language processing, less is known about the potential influence of prosodic preferences on neurophysiological processes. To this end, the present electroencephalogram study examined whether (...) the predictability of strong and weak syllables within metered speech would differ as a function of meter. Strong, i.e., accented positions within a foot should be more predictable than weak, i.e., unaccented positions. Our focus was on disyllabic pseudowords that solely differed between trochaic and iambic structure, with trochees providing the preferred foot in German. Methodologically, we focused on the omission Mismatch Negativity that is elicited when an anticipated auditory stimulus is omitted. The resulting electrophysiological brain response is particularly interesting because its elicitation does not depend on a physical stimulus. Omissions in deviant position of a passive oddball paradigm occurred at either first- or second-syllable position of the aforementioned pseudowords, resulting in a 2-by-2 design with the factors foot type and omission position. Analyses focused on the mean oMMN amplitude and latency differences across the four conditions. The result pattern was characterized by an interaction of the effects of foot type and omission position for both amplitudes and latencies. In first position, omissions resulted in larger and earlier oMMNs for trochees than for iambs. In second position, omissions resulted in larger oMMNs for iambs than for trochees, but the oMMN latency did not differ. The results suggest that omissions, particularly in initial position, are modulated by a trochaic preference in German. The preferred strong-weak pattern may have strengthened the prosodic prediction, especially for matching, trochaic stimuli, such that the violation of this prediction led to an earlier and stronger prediction error. Altogether, predictiveprocessing seems to play a particular role in metered speech, especially if the meter is based on the preferred foot type. (shrink)
According to Enactivism, cognition should be understood in terms of a dynamic interaction between an acting organism and its environment. Further, this view holds that organisms do not passively receive information from this environment, they rather selectively create this environment by engaging in interaction with the world. Radical Enactivism adds that basic cognition does so without entertaining representations and hence that representations are not an essential constituent of cognition. Some proponents think that getting rid of representations amounts to a revolutionary (...) alternative to standard views about cognition. To emphasize the impact, they claim that this ‘radicalization’ should be applied to all enactivist friendly views, including, another current and potentially revolutionary approach to cognition: predictiveprocessing. In this paper, we will show that this is not the case. After introducing the problem, we will argue that ‘radicalizing’ predictiveprocessing does not add any value to this approach. After this, we will analyze whether or not radical Enactivism can count as a revolution within cognitive science at all and conclude that it cannot. Finally, in section 5 we will claim that cognitive science is better off when embracing heterogeneity. (shrink)
This article is a comparative study between predictiveprocessing (PP, or predictive coding) and cognitive dissonance (CD) theory. The theory of CD, one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology, is shown to be highly compatible with recent developments in PP. This is particularly evident in the notion that both theories deal with strategies to reduce perceived error signals. However, reasons exist to update the theory of CD to one of “predictive dissonance.” (...) First, the hierarchical PP framework can be helpful in understanding varying nested levels of CD. If dissonance arises from a cascade of downstream and lateral predictions and consequent prediction errors, dissonance can exist at a multitude of scales, all the way up from sensory perception to higher order cognitions. This helps understand the previously problematic dichotomy between “dissonant cognitive relations” and “dissonant psychological states,” which are part of the same perception-action process while still hierarchically distinct. Second, since PP is action-oriented, it can be read to support recent action-based models of CD. Third, PP can potentially help us understand the recently speculated evolutionary origins of CD. Here, the argument is that responses to CD can instill meta-learning which serves to prevent the overfitting of generative models to ephemeral local conditions. This can increase action-oriented ecological rationality and enhanced capabilities to interact with a rich landscape of affordances. The downside is that in today’s world where social institutions such as science a priori separate noise from signal, some reactions to predictive dissonance might propagate ecologically unsound (underfitted, confirmation-biased) mental models such as climate denialism. (shrink)
Paweł Gładziejewski has recently argued that the framework of predictiveprocessing postulates genuine representations. His focus is on establishing that certain structures posited by PP actually play a representational role. The goal of this paper is to promote this discussion by exploring the contents of representations posited by PP. Gładziejewski already points out that structural theories of representational content can successfully be applied to PP. Here, I propose to make the treatment slightly more rigorous by invoking Francis Egan’s (...) distinction between mathematical and cognitive contents. Applying this distinction to representational contents in PP, I first show that cognitive contents in PP are determined by mathematical contents, at least in the sense that computational descriptions in PP put constraints on ascriptions of cognitive contents. After that, I explore to what extent these constraints are specific. I argue that the general mathematical contents posited by PP do not constrain ascriptions of cognitive content in a specific way. However, there are at least three aspects of PP that constrain ascriptions of cognitive contents in more specific ways: formal PP models posit specific mathematical contents that define more specific constraints; PP entails claims about how computational mechanisms underpin cognitive phenomena ; the processing hierarchy posited by PP goes along with more specific constraints. (shrink)