Cognitive Penetrability of Perception in the Age of Prediction: Predictive Systems are Penetrable Systems

Abstract
The goal of perceptual systems is to allow organisms to adaptively respond to ecologically relevant stimuli. Because all perceptual inputs are ambiguous, perception needs to rely on prior knowledge accumulated over evolutionary and developmental time to turn sensory energy into information useful for guiding behavior. It remains controversial whether the guidance of perception extends to cognitive states or is locked up in a “cognitively impenetrable” part of perception. I argue that expectations, knowledge, and task demands can shape perception at multiple levels, leaving no part untouched. The position advocated here is broadly consistent with the notion that perceptual systems strive to minimize prediction error en route to globally optimal solutions :181–204, 2013). On this view, penetrability should be expected whenever constraining lower-level processes by higher level knowledge is minimizes global prediction error. Just as Fodor feared cognitive penetration of perception threatens theory-neutral observation and the distinction between observation and inference. However, because theories themselves are constrained by the task of minimizing prediction error, theory-laden observation turns out to be superior to theory-free observation in turning sensory energy into useful information
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-015-0253-4
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References found in this work BETA

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The Weirdest People in the World.Joseph Henrich, Steven J. Heine & Ara Norenzayan - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):61-83.

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Citations of this work BETA

Seeing and Conceptualizing: Modularity and the Shallow Contents of Perception.Eric Mandelbaum - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):267-283.
Cognitive Penetration and Predictive Coding: A Commentary on Lupyan.Fiona Macpherson - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (4):571-584.
What ‘Extended Me’ Knows.Andy Clark - 2015 - Synthese 192 (11):3757-3775.

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