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  1.  52
    The Emperor's New Markov Blankets.Jelle Bruineberg, Krzysztof Dołęga, Joe Dewhurst & Manuel Baltieri - 2022 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 45:e183.
    The free energy principle, an influential framework in computational neuroscience and theoretical neurobiology, starts from the assumption that living systems ensure adaptive exchanges with their environment by minimizing the objective function of variational free energy. Following this premise, it claims to deliver a promising integration of the life sciences. In recent work, Markov blankets, one of the central constructs of the free energy principle, have been applied to resolve debates central to philosophy (such as demarcating the boundaries of the mind). (...)
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  2. The rationale of rationalization.Walter Veit, Joe Dewhurst, Krzysztof Dołęga, Max Jones, Shaun Stanley, Keith Frankish & Daniel C. Dennett - 2019 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43:e53.
    While we agree in broad strokes with the characterisation of rationalization as a “useful fiction,” we think that Fiery Cushman's claim remains ambiguous in two crucial respects: the reality of beliefs and desires, that is, the fictional status of folk-psychological entities and the degree to which they should be understood as useful. Our aim is to clarify both points and explicate the rationale of rationalization.
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  3. Individuation without Representation.Joe Dewhurst - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):103-116.
    ABSTRACT Shagrir and Sprevak explore the apparent necessity of representation for the individuation of digits in computational systems.1 1 I will first offer a response to Sprevak’s argument that does not mention Shagrir’s original formulation, which was more complex. I then extend my initial response to cover Shagrir’s argument, thus demonstrating that it is possible to individuate digits in non-representational computing mechanisms. I also consider the implications that the non-representational individuation of digits would have for the broader theory of computing (...)
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  4. Folk Psychology and the Bayesian Brain.Joe Dewhurst - 2017 - In Metzinger Thomas & Wiese Wanja (eds.), Philosophy and Predictive Processing. MIND Group.
    Whilst much has been said about the implications of predictive processing for our scientific understanding of cognition, there has been comparatively little discussion of how this new paradigm fits with our everyday understanding of the mind, i.e. folk psychology. This paper aims to assess the relationship between folk psychology and predictive processing, which will first require making a distinction between two ways of understanding folk psychology: as propositional attitude psychology and as a broader folk psychological discourse. It will be argued (...)
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  5.  77
    Computing Mechanisms Without Proper Functions.Joe Dewhurst - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (3):569-588.
    The aim of this paper is to begin developing a version of Gualtiero Piccinini’s mechanistic account of computation that does not need to appeal to any notion of proper functions. The motivation for doing so is a general concern about the role played by proper functions in Piccinini’s account, which will be evaluated in the first part of the paper. I will then propose a potential alternative approach, where computing mechanisms are understood in terms of Carl Craver’s perspectival account of (...)
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  6. Enactive autonomy in computational systems.Mario Villalobos & Joe Dewhurst - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):1891-1908.
    In this paper we will demonstrate that a computational system can meet the criteria for autonomy laid down by classical enactivism. The two criteria that we will focus on are operational closure and structural determinism, and we will show that both can be applied to a basic example of a physically instantiated Turing machine. We will also address the question of precariousness, and briefly suggest that a precarious Turing machine could be designed. Our aim in this paper is to challenge (...)
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  7.  44
    The Emperor Is Naked: Replies to commentaries on the target article.Jelle Bruineberg, Krzysztof Dołęga, Joe Dewhurst & Manuel Baltieri - 2022 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 45:e219.
    The 35 commentaries cover a wide range of topics and take many different stances on the issues explored by the target article. We have organised our response to the commentaries around three central questions: Are Friston blankets just Pearl blankets? What ontological and metaphysical commitments are implied by the use of Friston blankets? What kind of explanatory work are Friston blankets capable of? We conclude our reply with a short critical reflection on the indiscriminate use of both Markov blankets and (...)
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  8.  77
    The mechanistic stance.Jonny Lee & Joe Dewhurst - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-21.
    It is generally acknowledged by proponents of ‘new mechanism’ that mechanistic explanation involves adopting a perspective, but there is less agreement on how we should understand this perspective-taking or what its implications are for practising science. This paper examines the perspectival nature of mechanistic explanation through the lens of the ‘mechanistic stance’, which falls somewhere between Dennett’s more familiar physical and design stance. We argue this approach implies three distinct and significant ways in which mechanistic explanation can be interpreted as (...)
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  9.  33
    Causal emergence from effective information: Neither causal nor emergent?Joe Dewhurst - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):158-168.
    The past few years have seen several novel information-theoretic measures of causal emergence developed within the scientific community. In this paper I will introduce one such measure, called ‘effective information’, and describe how it is used to argue for causal emergence. In brief, the idea is that certain kinds of complex system are structured such that an intervention characterised at the macro-level will be more informative than one characterised at the micro-level, and that this constitutes a form of causal emergence. (...)
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  10.  34
    Normative folk psychology and decision theory.Joe Dewhurst & Christopher Burr - 2022 - Mind and Language 37 (4):525-542.
    Our aim in this paper is to explore two possible directions of interaction between normative folk psychology and decision theory. In one direction, folk psychology plays a regulative role that constrains practical decision‐making. In the other direction, decision theory provides novel tools and norms that shape folk psychology. We argue that these interactions could lead to the emergence of an iterative “decision theoretic spiral," where folk psychology influences decision‐making, decision‐making is studied by decision theory, and decision theory influences folk psychology. (...)
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  11.  98
    The Ups and Downs of Mechanism Realism: Functions, Levels, and Crosscutting Hierarchies.Joe Dewhurst & Alistair M. C. Isaac - 2021 - Erkenntnis 88 (3):1-23.
    Mechanism realists assert the existence of mechanisms as objective structures in the world, but their exact metaphysical commitments are unclear. We introduce Local Hierarchy Realism (LHR) as a substantive and plausible form of mechanism realism. The limits of LHR reveal a deep tension between two aspects of mechanists’ explanatory strategy. Functional decomposition identifies locally relevant entities and activities, while these same entities and activities are also embedded in a nested hierarchy of levels. In principle, a functional decomposition may identify entities (...)
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  12.  51
    Curtain Call at the Cartesian Theatre.Krzysztof Dołega & Joe Dewhurst - 2015 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 22 (9-10):109-128.
    Hobson & Friston (2014) outline a synthesis of Hobson's work on dreaming and consciousness with Friston’s work on the free energy principle and predictive coding. Whilst we are sympathetic with their claims about the function of dreaming and its relationship to consciousness, we argue that their endorsement of the Cartesian theatre metaphor is neither necessary nor desirable. Furthermore, if it were necessary then this endorsement would undermine their positive claims, as the Cartesian theatre metaphor is widely regarded as unsustainable. We (...)
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  13.  49
    Mechanistic Miscomputation: a Reply to Fresco and Primiero.Joe Dewhurst - 2014 - Philosophy and Technology 27 (3):495-498.
    Fresco and Primiero’s recent article, ‘Miscomputation’ , provides a useful framework with which to think about miscomputation, as well as an admirably broad taxonomy of different kinds of miscomputation. However, it also misconstrues the mechanistic approach to miscomputation, which I will argue should not recognise design errors as miscomputations per se. I argue that a computing mechanism, if it is functioning correctly in the physical sense, cannot miscompute on the basis of an error made by an external agent, such as (...)
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  14.  25
    Context-Sensitive Ontologies for a Non-reductionist Cognitive Neuroscience.Joe Dewhurst - 2018 - Australasian Philosophical Review 2 (2):224-228.
    The target article criticises reductionist programs in cognitive science for failing to take into account important explanatory features of the organism's physical embodiment and task environment. My aim in this commentary is to show how such features are increasingly being taken seriously by (some) researchers in cognitive neuroscience, who describe the functional activity of neural structures in terms that are context-sensitive rather than intrinsic. This approach can allow us to take seriously the concerns presented in Gallagher’s [2019] target article without (...)
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  15.  34
    Rejecting the Received View.Joe Dewhurst - 2014 - Proceedings of the 50th Anniversary Convention of the AISB.
    I defend Piccinini’s mechanistic account of computation against three related criticisms adapted from Sprevak’s critique of non-representational computation. I then argue that this defence highlights a major problem with what Sprevak calls the received view; namely, that representation introduces observer-relativity into our account of computation. I conclude that if we want to retain an objective account of computation, we should reject the received view.
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  16.  39
    Mechanism Hierarchy Realism and Function Perspectivalism.Joe Dewhurst & Alistair M. C. Isaac - unknown
    Mechanistic explanation involves the attribution of functions to both mechanisms and their component parts, and function attribution plays a central role in the individuation of mechanisms. Our aim in this paper is to investigate the impact of a perspectival view of function attribution for the broader mechanist project, and specifically for realism about mechanistic hierarchies. We argue that, contrary to the claims of function perspectivalists such as Craver, one cannot endorse both function perspectivalism and mechanistic hierarchy realism: if functions are (...)
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  17.  32
    The Enactive Automaton as a Computing Mechanism.Joe Dewhurst & Mario Villalobos - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):185-192.
    Varela, Thompson, and Rosch illustrated their original presentation of the enactive theory of cognition with the example of a simple cellular automaton. Their theory was paradigmatically anti-computational, and yet automata similar to the one that they describe have typically been used to illustrate theories of computation, and are usually treated as abstract computational systems. Their use of this example is therefore puzzling, especially as they do not seem to acknowledge the discrepancy. The solution to this tension lies in recognizing a (...)
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  18. Computing Mechanisms and Autopoietic Systems.Joe Dewhurst - 2016 - In Vincent C. Müller (ed.), Computing and philosophy: Selected papers from IACAP 2014. Cham: Springer. pp. 17-26.
    This chapter draws an analogy between computing mechanisms and autopoietic systems, focusing on the non-representational status of both kinds of system (computational and autopoietic). It will be argued that the role played by input and output components in a computing mechanism closely resembles the relationship between an autopoietic system and its environment, and in this sense differs from the classical understanding of inputs and outputs. The analogy helps to make sense of why we should think of computing mechanisms as non-representational, (...)
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  19. Resolving Two Tensions in 4E Cognition Using Wide Computationalism.Luke Kersten, George Deane & Joe Dewhurst - 2017 - In Glenn Gunzelmann, Andrew Howes, Thora Tenbrink & Eddy Davelaar (eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of Cognitive Science Society. pp. 2395-2400.
    Recently, some authors have begun to raise questions about the potential unity of 4E (enactive, embedded, embodied, extended) cognition as a distinct research programme within cognitive science. Two tensions, in particular, have been raised:(i) that the body-centric claims embodied cognition militate against the distributed tendencies of extended cognition and (ii) that the body/environment distinction emphasized by enactivism stands in tension with the world-spanning claims of extended cognition. The goal of this paper is to resolve tensions (i) and (ii). The proposal (...)
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  20.  61
    The Ups and Downs of Mechanism Realism: Functions, Levels, and Crosscutting Hierarchies.Joe Dewhurst & Alistair M. C. Isaac - 2021 - Erkenntnis 88 (3):1035-1057.
    Mechanism realists assert the existence of mechanisms as objective structures in the world, but their exact metaphysical commitments are unclear. We introduce Local Hierarchy Realism (LHR) as a substantive and plausible form of mechanism realism. The limits of LHR reveal a deep tension between two aspects of mechanists’ explanatory strategy. Functional decomposition identifies locally relevant entities and activities, while these same entities and activities are also embedded in a nested hierarchy of levels. In principle, a functional decomposition may identify entities (...)
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  21. Cognition, Computing and Dynamic Systems.Mario Villalobos & Joe Dewhurst - 2016 - Límite. Revista Interdisciplinaria de Filosofía y Psicología 1.
    Traditionally, computational theory (CT) and dynamical systems theory (DST) have presented themselves as opposed and incompatible paradigms in cognitive science. There have been some efforts to reconcile these paradigms, mainly, by assimilating DST to CT at the expenses of its anti-representationalist commitments. In this paper, building on Piccinini’s mechanistic account of computation and the notion of functional closure, we explore an alternative conciliatory strategy. We try to assimilate CT to DST by dropping its representationalist commitments, and by inviting CT to (...)
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  22. Physical computation: a mechanistic account. [REVIEW]Joe Dewhurst - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (5):795-797.
    Physical Computation is the summation of Piccinini’s work on computation and mechanistic explanation over the past decade. It draws together material from papers published during that time, but also provides additional clarifications and restructuring that make this the definitive presentation of his mechanistic account of physical computation. This review will first give a brief summary of the account that Piccinini defends, followed by a chapter-by-chapter overview of the book, before finally discussing one aspect of the account in more critical detail.
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  23.  7
    David M. Kaplan's Explanation and Integration in Mind and Brain Science. [REVIEW]Joe Dewhurst - 2018 - BJPS Review of Books.
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  24.  66
    Tadeusz Wieslaw Zawidzki: Mindshaping. [REVIEW]Joe Dewhurst - 2014 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (4):1165-1169.
  25.  20
    Tadeusz Wieslaw Zawidzki: Mindshaping: MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 2013, 320pp., ISBN: 9780262019019, Hardcover: $40.00/£27.95. [REVIEW]Joe Dewhurst - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (4):1165-1169.
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