Predictive coding I: Introduction

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Abstract / Description of output

Predictive coding – sometimes also known as ‘predictive processing’, ‘free energy minimisation’, or ‘prediction error minimisation’ – claims to offer a complete, unified theory of cognition that stretches all the way from cellular biology to phenomenology. However, the exact content of the view, and how it might achieve its ambitions, is not clear. This series of articles examines predictive coding and attempts to identify its key commitments and justification. The present article begins by focusing on possible confounds with predictive coding: claims that are often identified with predictive coding, but which are not predictive coding. These include the idea that the brain employs an efficient scheme for encoding its incoming sensory signals; that perceptual experience is shaped by prior beliefs; that cognition involves minimisation of prediction error; that the brain is a probabilistic inference engine; and that the brain learns and employs a generative model of the world. These ideas have garnered widespread support in modern cognitive neuroscience, but it is important not to conflate them with predictive coding.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12950
JournalPhilosophy Compass
Early online date11 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Nov 2023


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