Dissertation, University of Edinburgh (2021)

Matthew Sims
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Located at the intersection of philosophy of cognitive science and philosophy of biology, this thesis aims to provide a novel approach to understanding the strong continuity between life and mind. This thesis applies the Free Energy Framework, predictive processing and the conceptual apparatus from ecological psychology to reveal different manners in which the organizational processes and principles underlying life have been enriched so as to result in cognitive processes. By using these anticipatory cognitive frameworks this thesis unveils different forms of cognition at work in surprising places and considers how such expressions of cognition are ultimately driven by various forms of environmental complexity. Importing the concepts of affordances, environmental information and perceptual medium from ecological psychology into predictive processing and the Free Energy Framework, an empirically grounded account of cognition as an anticipatory process that allows living systems to adapt to various degrees of uncertainty in their environments at distinct and yet overlapping timescales is argued for. In doing so, this thesis attempts to identify both the explanatory limits of ecological coupling accounts of perception and action, and the possible environmental conditions under which the predictive brain evolved from its decentralized non-neural predecessors as a solution to uncertainty. In contributing to a novel approach to constraining the mind, the various concepts deployed in both philosophy and cognitive science are sharpened, furthering the current debate on what cognition is and how it is related to life.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.7488/era/1370
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,355
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

New Directions in Predictive Processing.Jakob Hohwy - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (2):209-223.
Modularity and the Predictive Mind.Zoe Drayson - 2017 - T. Metzinger and W. Weise, (Eds), Philosophy and Predictive Processing.
The Dark Room Problem.Zekun Sun & Chaz Firestone - 2020 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 24 (5):346-348.
Autopoietic Enactivism, Phenomenology and the Deep Continuity Between Life and Mind.Paulo De Jesus - 2016 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (2):265-289.


Added to PP index

Total views
22 ( #515,686 of 2,519,625 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #100,610 of 2,519,625 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes