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Authors: Seth, Anil K.
Title: Inference to the best prediction : a reply to Wanja Wiese
Online publication date: 8-Nov-2016
Language: english
Abstract: Responding to Wanja Wiese’s incisive commentary, I first develop the analogy between predictive processing and scientific discovery. Active inference in the Bayesian brain turns out to be well characterized by abduction (inference to the best explanation), rather than by deduction or induction. Furthermore, the emphasis on control highlighted by cybernetics suggests that active inference can be a process of “inference to the best prediction”, leading to a distinction between “epistemic” and “instrumental” active inference. Secondly, on the relationship between perceptual presence and objecthood, I recognize a distinction between the “world revealing” presence of phenomenological objecthood, and the experience of “absence of presence” or “phenomenal unreality”. Here I propose that world-revealing presence (objecthood) depends on counterfactually rich predictive models that are necessarily hierarchically deep, whereas phenomenal unreality arises when active inference fails to unmix causes “in the world” from those that depend on the perceiver. Finally, I return to control-oriented active inference in the setting of interoception, where cybernetics and predictive processing are most closely connected.
DDC: 100 Philosophie
100 Philosophy
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 05 Philosophie und Philologie
Place: Mainz
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:77-publ-551171
Version: Published version
Publication type: Buchbeitrag
License: in Copyright
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Citation: Open MIND
Metzinger, Thomas
Pages or article number: Kap. 35(R)
Publisher: MIND Group
Publisher place: Frankfurt am Main
Issue date: 2015
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.15502/9783958570986
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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