Predictive processing approaches to the mind are increasingly popular in the cognitive sciences. This surge of interest is accompanied by a proliferation of philosophical arguments, which seek to either extend or oppose various aspects of the emerging framework. In particular, the question of how to position predictive processing with respect to enactive and embodied cognition has become a topic of intense debate. While these arguments are certainly of valuable scientific and philosophical merit, they risk underestimating the variety of approaches gathered (...) under the predictive label. Here, we first present a basic review of neuroscientific, cognitive, and philosophical approaches to PP, to illustrate how these range from solidly cognitivist applications—with a firm commitment to modular, internalistic mental representation—to more moderate views emphasizing the importance of ‘body-representations’, and finally to those which fit comfortably with radically enactive, embodied, and dynamic theories of mind. Any nascent predictive processing theory must take into account this continuum of views, and associated theoretical commitments. As a final point, we illustrate how the Free Energy Principle attempts to dissolve tension between internalist and externalist accounts of cognition, by providing a formal synthetic account of how internal ‘representations’ arise from autopoietic self-organization. The FEP thus furnishes empirically productive process theories by which to guide discovery through the formal modelling of the embodied mind. (shrink)
We distinguish between three philosophical views on the neuroscience of predictive models: predictive coding, predictive processing and predictive engagement. We examine the concept of active inference under each model and then ask how this concept informs discussions of social cognition. In this context we consider Frith and Friston’s proposal for a neural hermeneutics, and we explore the alternative model of enactivist hermeneutics.
The mainstream science of consciousness offers a few predominate views of how the brain gives rise to awareness. Chief among these are the Higher-Order Thought Theory, Global Neuronal Workspace Theory, Integrated Information Theory, and hybrids thereof. In parallel, rapid development in predictive processing approaches have begun to outline concrete mechanisms by which interoceptive inference shapes selfhood, affect, and exteroceptive perception. Here, we consider these new approaches in terms of what they might offer our empirical, phenomenological, and philosophical understanding of consciousness (...) and its neurobiological roots. (shrink)
The Bayesian brain hypothesis, as formalized by the free-energy principle, is ascendant in cognitive science. But, how does the Bayesian brain obtain prior beliefs? Veissière and colleagues argue that sociocultural interaction is one important source. We offer a complementary model in which “interoceptive self-inference” guides the estimation of expected uncertainty both in ourselves and in our social conspecifics.
Bruineberg and colleagues report a striking confusion, in which the formal Bayesian notion of a “Markov blanket” has been frequently misunderstood and misapplied to phenomena of mind and life. I argue that misappropriation of formal concepts is pervasive in the “predictive processing” literature, and echo Richard Feynman in suggesting how we might resist the allure of cargo cult computationalism.