Just How Conservative Is Conservative Predictive Processing?
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Predictive Processing (PP) framework construes perception and action (and perhaps other cognitive phenomena) as a matter of minimizing prediction error, i.e. the mismatch between the sensory input and sensory predictions generated by a hierarchically organized statistical model. There is a question of how PP fits into the debate between traditional, neurocentric and representation-heavy approaches in cognitive science and those approaches that see cognition as embodied, environmentally embedded, extended and (largely) representation-free. In the present paper, I aim to investigate and clarify the cognitivist or ‘conservative’ reading of PP. I argue that the conservative commitments of PP can be divided into three distinct categories: (1) representationalism, (2) inferentialism, and (3) internalism. I show how these commitments and their relations should be understood and argue for an interpretation of each that is both non-trivial and largely ecumenical towards the 4E literature. Conservative PP is as progressive as conservatism gets