Friday, 19 December 2014

Philosophy of Mind and Psychology Reading Group -- The Predictive Mind chapter 11

Ema Sullivan-Bissett
Welcome to the Philosophy of Mind and Psychology Reading Group hosted by the Philosophy@Birmingham blog.

This month, Ema Sullivan-Bissett introduces chapter 11 of Jakob Hohwy’s The Predictive Mind (OUP, 2013). Ema is a Research Fellow on Lisa Bortolotti’s ERC-funded project PERFECT, in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham.

Chapter 11 - The Fragile Mirror of Nature
Presented by Ema Sullivan-Bissett

In chapter eleven Hohwy seeks to challenge background beliefs we hold about the nature of our body, and characterizes us as ‘fundamentally fragile prediction error minimizing machines’ (p. 224). The fragility of the perceptual system is what is to be explicated in this chapter.

Hohwy starts by setting up a contrast between his prediction error minimization view of perception, and the bottom-up view. The latter casts us as ‘passive receivers of sensory input’, which does not require of us that we interpret such input making use of relevant background beliefs. Such a view is, of course, ‘fundamentally in stark contrast to the prediction error minimization idea’ (p. 225).