Predictive processing and the representation wars: a victory for the eliminativist

Synthese 195 (12):5115-5139 (2018)

Authors
Adrian Downey
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Abstract
In this paper I argue that, by combining eliminativist and fictionalist approaches toward the sub-personal representational posits of predictive processing, 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 predictive processing. Then, I motivate a fictionalist approach toward the remaining indispensable representational posits of predictive processing, and explain how representation can play an epistemologically indispensable role within predictive processing 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.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-017-1442-8
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References found in this work BETA

The Language of Thought.Jerry A. Fodor - 1975 - Noûs 14 (1):120-124.
The Intentional Stance.Daniel DENNETT - 1987 - Journal of Philosophy 87 (4):212-216.
The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.James J. Gibson - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 39 (2):203-206.

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Citations of this work BETA

Neural Representations Observed.Eric Thomson & Gualtiero Piccinini - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (1):191-235.
Self-Knowledge in a Predictive Processing Framework.Lukas Schwengerer - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (3):563-585.

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