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Authors: Kiefer, Alexander B.
Title: Literal perceptual inference
Online publication date: 1-Jun-2017
Language: english
Abstract: In this paper, I argue that theories of perception that appeal to Helmholtz’s idea of unconscious inference (“Helmholtzian” theories) should be taken literally, i.e. that the inferences appealed to in such theories are inferences in the full sense of the term, as employed elsewhere in philosophy and in ordinary discourse. The argument consists in first defending a minimal conception of inference based on Gilbert Harman’s account (Harman 1973), and then arguing that Helmholtzian computational models of perceptual inference such as those proposed in Hinton and Sejnowski 1983, Hinton et al. 1995, and Friston 2005 implement the type of process Harman describes. In the course of the argument, I consider constraints on inference based on the idea that inference is a deliberate action (Boghossian 2014, Broome 2014, Wright 2014), and on the idea that inferences depend on the syntactic structure of representations (Mandelbaum 2016). I argue that inference is a personal-level but sometimes unconscious process that cannot in general be distinguished from association on the basis of the structures of the representations over which it’s defined. I also critique the argument against representationalist interpretations of Helmholtzian theories in Orlandi 2015, and argue against the view that perceptual inference is encapsulated in a module.
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-566594
Version: Published version
Publication type: Buchbeitrag
License: CC BY-ND
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Citation: Philosophy and predictive processing
Metzinger, Thomas
Pages or article number: 264
Publisher: MIND Group
Publisher place: Frankfurt am Main
Issue date: 2017
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.15502/9783958573185
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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