Predictive Processing and its Role in Explaining Cognition
Ben-Gurion University and the Hebrew University
Be'er Sheba and Jerusalem
- The Sidney M. Edelstein Center for the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine
- Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience
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Predictive processing is amongst the most influential explanatory frameworks in philosophy of mind and the cognitive sciences recently. Following the revisionist idea of H.L.F. von Helmholtz (1821–1894), the brain is conceived as a powerful prediction machine. The brain updates its memory-based predictions through sensory updating, minimising a specific type of error, which results from a mismatch between memory-based predictions of sensory information and sensory stimuli from the world. This conception makes prediction key to perception, action and learning, where sensory input assumes the role of providing feedback to correct and fine-tune these predictions. Predictive processing offers a unifying framework for understanding the full range of behavioural and cognitive phenomena using a single common principle of minimising prediction error. This idea has pervaded different disciplines in the cognitive sciences--both theoretically and empirically. Its philosophical implications are currently being hotly debated, including the idea of bottom-up formation of representation, the free will problem and the enactive/embedded/embodied approach to studying cognition.
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