In this chapter I’m going to address another challenge to a representationalist understanding of perception. This one is less precise than the one that I addressed in the previous post, but it has nevertheless had a large influence in motivating anti-representationalism among a motley crew of anti-representationalists: pragmatists, ecological psychologists, enactivists, and so on. Roughly, … Continue reading Chapter 9. Modelling the Umwelt
“Cognition is for action!” “Cognition is not just for action; cognition is action!” “The world is its own best model!” “Organisms don’t represent the world. They enact a world inseparable from their own structure!” And so on. These are just some of the claims you’ve likely come across if you’ve spent any time reading the … Continue reading Chapter 8: The World Is Not Its Own Best Generative Model
In the previous post I outlined research that offers some tentative support to a conception of the neocortex as a predictive modelling engine, constructing hierarchical generative models of those features of the world responsible for generating the sensory data to which it is exposed and then exploiting these models for prediction-based processing. In this post … Continue reading Chapter 7: Representation, Prediction, Regulation
In Chapter 3 I outlined an idea that I extracted from the work of Kenneth Craik: namely, that the mind builds idealised models of the world and uses these models for prediction. In the last two chapters I elaborated on this proposal. In Chapter 4 I argued that models in general—from simple maps to complex … Continue reading Chapter 6. Generative Models and the Predictive Mind
In the previous post I outlined some of the chief characteristics of model-based representation. I argued that models should be understood as idealised structural surrogates for target domains. In this short post I’ll explain how this functional profile can be understood in the context of the neural mechanisms that underlie our psychological capacities. This chapter … Continue reading Chapter 5: Could the Mind be a Modelling Engine?