Busting Out: Predictive Brains, Embodied Minds, and the Puzzle of the Evidentiary Veil

Noûs 51 (4):727-753 (2017)
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Abstract

Biological brains are increasingly cast as ‘prediction machines’: evolved organs whose core operating principle is to learn about the world by trying to predict their own patterns of sensory stimulation. This, some argue, should lead us to embrace a brain-bound ‘neurocentric’ vision of the mind. The mind, such views suggest, consists entirely in the skull-bound activity of the predictive brain. In this paper I reject the inference from predictive brains to skull-bound minds. Predictive brains, I hope to show, can be apt participants in larger cognitive circuits. The path is thus cleared for a new synthesis in which predictive brains act as entry-points for ‘extended minds’, and embodiment and action contribute constitutively to knowing contact with the world.

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