Keeping concepts in context

Conceptual pluralism is the view for any category that we can think about, we typically possess many different concepts of it—that is, many different ways of representing that category in higher cognition. Different kinds of concepts encode their own specific perspective on the target category, and each one can be …

Metacognition, Agency, and Errors

Among philosophers, autonomous agency usually requires having some kind of metacognitive awareness that permits thinking about one’s reasons for action and being self-governing. Autonomous agency, then, requires metacognition. But it requires metacognition of a certain sort, namely beliefs about beliefs. The question about whether any other animal is metacognitive has …

Naïve normativity

In standard approaches to folk psychology, our folk psychological reasoning is taken to be a species of causal reasoning. And while there is some attention to other kinds of reasoning in the developmental literature, notably teleological reasoning, most of the research I’ve run across on children’s social reasoning and explanations …

Pluralistic Folk Psychology

In our daily interactions with people—driving down the street, coordinating childcare, figuring out how to hide from an old girlfriend, buying a nice gift—we rely on folk psychology, our unschooled understanding of other people. These abilities are often attributed to a single mechanism often thought to be unique to the …

Consciousness in the predictive mind

The prediction error minimization (PEM) account of brain function may explain perception, learning, action, attention and understanding. That at least is what its proponents claim, and I suggested in an earlier post that perhaps the brain does nothing but minimize its prediction error. So far I haven’t talked explicitly about …

Prediction error minimization and embodiment

One of the anonymous reviewers of my book manuscript remarked, with approval, that it contained very little discussion of embodied, extended and enactive (EEE) cognition. Probably this omission stems from my Kantian gut feeling that an explanation of mind and cognition must appeal only to what happens after sensory input …

Is prediction error minimization all there is to the mind?

The prediction error minimization theory (PEM) says that the brain continually seeks to minimize its prediction error – minimize the difference between its predictions about the sensory input and the actual sensory input. It is an extremely simple idea but from it arises a surprisingly resourceful conception of brain processing. …

Introspective Attention: Transparency or Acquaintance? Part 1

Given that the school year at CMU starts today, this will be my last post (split in two). Thanks to readers for very helpful discussion in the previous posts. Part 2 will be published late Tuesday or Wednesday. [Update: teaching classes today, so will be slower to respond, though I …

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