This paper starts by considering an argument for thinking that predictive processing (PP) is representational. This argument suggests that the Kullback–Leibler (KL)-divergence provides an accessible measure of misrepresentation, and therefore, a measure of representational content in hierarchical Bayesian inference. The paper then argues that while the KL-divergence is a measure of information, it does not establish a sufficient measure of representational content. We argue that this follows from the fact that the KL-divergence is a measure of relative entropy, which can (...) be shown to be the same as covariance (through a set of additional steps). It is well known that facts about covariance do not entail facts about representational content. So there is no reason to think that the KL-divergence is a measure of (mis-)representational content. This paper thus provides an enactive, non-representational account of Bayesian belief optimisation in hierarchical PP. (shrink)
Habitual actions unfold without conscious deliberation or reflection, and yet often seem to be intelligently adjusted to situational intricacies. A question arises, then, as to how it is that habitual actions can exhibit this form of intelligence, while falling outside the domain of paradigmatically intentional actions. Call this the intelligence puzzle of habits. This puzzle invites three standard replies. Some stipulate that habits lack intelligence and contend that the puzzle is ill-posed. Others hold that habitual actions can exhibit intelligence because (...) they are guided by automatic yet rational, propositional processes. Others still suggest that habits guide intelligent behaviour without involving propositional states by shaping perception in action-soliciting ways. We develop an alternative fourth answer based on John Dewey’s pragmatist account of habit. We argue that habits promote intelligent behaviour by shaping perception, by forming an interrelated network among themselves, and by cooperating with the environment. (shrink)
Basic Emotion Theory, or BET, has dominated the affective sciences for decades (Ekman, 1972, 1992, 1999; Ekman and Davidson, 1994; Griffiths, 2013; Scarantino and Griffiths, 2011). It has been highly influential, driving a number of empirical lines of research (e.g., in the context of facial expression detection, neuroimaging studies and evolutionary psychology). Nevertheless, BET has been criticized by philosophers, leading to calls for it to be jettisoned entirely (Colombetti, 2014; Hufendiek, 2016). This paper defuses those criticisms. In addition, it shows (...) that we have good reason to retain BET. Finally, it reviews and puts to rest worries that BET’s commitment to affect programs renders it outmoded. We propose that, with minor adjustments, BET can avoid such criticisms when conceived under a radically enactive account of emotions. Thus, rather than leaving BET behind, we show how its basic ideas can be revised, refashioned and preserved. Hence, we conclude, our new BET is still a good bet. (shrink)
Disagreement about how best to think of the relation between theories and the realities they represent has a longstanding and venerable history. We take up this debate in relation to the free energy principle (FEP) - a contemporary framework in computational neuroscience, theoretical biology and the philosophy of cognitive science. The FEP is very ambitious, extending from the brain sciences to the biology of self-organisation. In this context, some find apparent discrepancies between the map (the FEP) and the territory (target (...) systems) a compelling reason to defend instrumentalism about the FEP. We take this to be misguided. We identify an important fallacy made by those defending instrumentalism about the FEP. We call it the literalist fallacy: this is the fallacy of inferring the truth of instrumentalism based on the claim that the properties of FEP models do not literally map onto real-world, target systems. We conclude that scientific realism about the FEP is a live and tenable option. (shrink)
This paper will argue that intellectualism about skill—the contention that skilled performance is without exception guided by proposition knowledge—is fundamentally flawed. It exposes that intellectualists about skill run into intractable theoretical problems in explicating a role for their novel theoretical conceit of practical modes of presentation. It then examines a proposed solution by Carlotta Pavese which seeks to identify practical modes of presentation with motor representations that guide skilled sensorimotor action. We argue that this proposed identification is problematic on empirical (...) and theoretical grounds, and—as such—it fails to deliver on its explanatory ambitions. In the final analysis, it will be argued that intellectualism about skill is, in any case, superfluous when it comes to accounting for the aspects of skilled performance it purports to explain. (shrink)
Bruineberg and colleagues argue that a realist interpretation of Markov blankets inadvertently relies upon unfounded assumptions. However, insofar as their diagnosis is accurate, their prescribed instrumentalism may ultimately prove insufficient as a complete remedy. Drawing upon a process-based perspective on living systems, we suggest a potential way to avoid some of the assumptions behind problems described by Bruineberg and colleagues.
Craig Callender attempts to overturn conventional wisdom within decision theory by contending that rational intertemporal choices need not always conform to an exponential discounting function. He argues that there are cases in which hyperbolic discounting is the height of rationality. This paper does not seek to undermine Callender’s conclusions, but instead raises two interrelated theoretical concerns with his way securing them. The first concern is with his dismissal of influential dual-system explanations of rationality. It is argued that Callender’s criticisms of (...) said explanations fail to assess them at anything like their full weight. It is then suggested that dual-systems approaches in cognitive science do have substantial theoretical problems, but that Callender fails to identify them. The second concern builds on the first and suggests that Callender’s arguments against consensus normative standards might motivate a more dramatically reimagined notion of rationality than the one he seems to embrace. (shrink)
Osiurak and Reynaud claim that research into the origin of cumulative technological culture has been too focused on social cognition and has consequently neglected the importance of uniquely human reasoning capacities. This commentary raises two interrelated theoretical concerns about O&R's notion of technical-reasoning capacities, and suggests how these concerns might be met.
An increasingly popular objection to anti-intellectualism about know-how is that there are clear cases where an agent having the dispositional ability to φ does not suffice for her knowing how to φ. Recently, Adam Carter has argued that anti-intellectualism can only rise to meet this sufficiency objection if it imposes additional constraints on know-how. He develops a revisionary anti-intellectualism, on which knowing how to φ not only entails that the agent possesses a reliable ability to φ, but also that she (...) is equipped with certain kind of intellectual grasp of the method by which she is able to reliably φ. This paper argues that Carter's revisionary know-how does not constitute an improvement over the more standard version of anti-intellectualism. Moreover, it is argued that Carter's additional demands concede too much to the intellectualist, and, as a result, commit his revised anti-intellectualism to familiar problems facing the intellectualist account of know-how. In other words, his attempts to respond to the sufficiency objection constitutes a dangerous compromise to the intellectualist. The paper finishes with a final analysis that suggests, in the end, there are still reasons to prefer standard anti-intellectualism over intellectualism. (shrink)
In this objective, practical and authoritative introduction to animal law, the author examines the fundamental principles of the human-animal relationship and how those have, or have not, been translated into contemporary animal welfare law. The book describes the various uses of animals in society, the practical relevance of animal health and welfare to activities of professionals, and animal welfare in the context of global issues including climate change, disease control, food safety and food supply. It identifies 29 key principles which (...) guide animal law and welfare. Relevant to companion, farm, captive and wild animals, the book has international application in countries with both established and developing legislation. It focuses on the issues and principles, referencing contemporary animal welfare law to provide a global benchmark. The author acknowledges the diversity of views regarding animals as individual beings and beloved pets, to pure commodities. Yet animals need to be treated as one stakeholder, along with other interests, under the law. Based on successful courses run by the author and his own legal practice, the book combines science and ethics to provide an accessible introduction to the key principles of animal law and welfare. (shrink)