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  1. Teleosemantics and the free energy principle.Stephen Francis Mann & Ross Pain - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):1-25.
    The free energy principle is notoriously difficult to understand. In this paper, we relate the principle to a framework that philosophers of biology are familiar with: Ruth Millikan’s teleosemantics. We argue that: systems that minimise free energy are systems with a proper function; and Karl Friston’s notion of implicit modelling can be understood in terms of Millikan’s notion of mapping relations. Our analysis reveals some surprising formal similarities between the two frameworks, and suggests interesting lines of future research. We hope (...)
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  • Free energy: a user’s guide.Stephen Francis Mann, Ross Pain & Michael D. Kirchhoff - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):1-35.
    Over the last fifteen years, an ambitious explanatory framework has been proposed to unify explanations across biology and cognitive science. Active inference, whose most famous tenet is the free energy principle, has inspired excitement and confusion in equal measure. Here, we lay the ground for proper critical analysis of active inference, in three ways. First, we give simplified versions of its core mathematical models. Second, we outline the historical development of active inference and its relationship to other theoretical approaches. Third, (...)
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