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Free-Energy Principle, Computationalism and Realism: a Tragedy

van Es, Thomas and Hipolito, Ines (2020) Free-Energy Principle, Computationalism and Realism: a Tragedy. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The free energy principle provides an increasingly popular framework to biology and cognitive science. However, it remains disputed whether its statistical models are scientific tools to describe non-equilibrium steady-state systems (which we call the instrumentalist reading), or are literally implemented and utilized by those systems (the realist reading). We analyze the options critically, with particular attention to the question of representationalism. We argue that realism is unwarranted and conceptually incoherent. Conversely, instrumentalism is safer whilst remaining explanatorily powerful. Moreover, we show that the representationalism debate loses relevance in an instrumentalist reading. Finally, these findings could be generalized for our interpretation of models in cognitive science more generally.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
van Es, Thomasthomas.vanes@uantwerpen.be
Hipolito, Ineshipolito.ines@gmail.com
Keywords: representationalism, realism, Free-Energy Principle (FEP), scientific models
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Systems Neuroscience
Depositing User: Ines Hipolito
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2020 16:05
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2020 16:05
Item ID: 18497
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Systems Neuroscience
Date: 7 December 2020
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18497

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