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Transcending the evidentiary boundary: Prediction error minimization, embodied interaction, and explanatory pluralism

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In a recent paper, Jakob Hohwy argues that the emerging predictive processing (PP) perspective on cognition requires us to explain cognitive functioning in purely internalistic and neurocentric terms. The purpose of the present paper is to challenge the view that PP entails a wholesale rejection of positions that are interested in the embodied, embedded, extended, or enactive dimensions of cognitive processes. I will argue that Hohwy’s argument from analogy, which forces an evidentiary boundary into the picture, lacks the argumentative resources to make a convincing case for the conceptual necessity to interpret PP in solely internalistic terms. For this reason, I will reconsider the postulation and explanatory role of the evidentiary boundary. I will arrive at an account of prediction error minimization and its foundation on the free energy principle that is fully consistent with approaches to cognition that emphasize the embodied and interactive properties of cognitive processes. This gives rise to the suggestion that explanatory pluralism about the application of PP is to be preferred over Hohwy’s explanatory monism that follows from his internalistic and neurocentric view of predictive cognitive systems.
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Keywords: Dynamical systems theory; embodied cognition; explanatory pluralism; free energy principle; prediction error minimization

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science, Justus Liebig University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany

Publication date: 19 May 2017

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