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Beyond the 'Bayesian Blur': Predictive Processing and the Nature of Subjective Experience

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Recent work in cognitive and computational neuroscience depicts the brain as in some (perhaps merely approximate) sense implementing probabilistic inference. This suggests a puzzle. If the processing that enables perceptual experience involves representing or approximating probability distributions, why does experience itself appear univocal and determinate, apparently bearing no traces of those probabilistic roots? In this paper, I canvass a range of responses, including the denial of univocality and determinacy itself. I argue that there is reason to think that it is our conception of perception itself that is flawed. Once we see perception aright, as the slave of action, the puzzlement recedes. Perceptual determinacy reflects only the mundane fact that we are embodied, active, agents who must constantly engage the world they perceptually encounter.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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