Philosophy and Predictive Processing
The notion that the brain is a prediction error minimizer entails, via the notion of Markov blankets and self-evidencing, a form of global scepticism — an inability to rule out evil demon scenarios. This type of scepticism is viewed by some as a sign of a fatally flawed conception of mind and cognition. Here I discuss whether this scepticism is ameliorated by acknowledging the role of action in the most ambitious approach to prediction error minimization, namely under the free energy principle. I argue that the scepticism remains but that the role of action in the free energy principle constrains the demon’s work. This yields new insights about the free energy principle, epistemology, and the place of mind in nature.