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Why Pain Experience is not a Controlled Hallucination of the Body

Kiverstein, Julian and Kirchhoff, Michael and Thacker, Michael (2021) Why Pain Experience is not a Controlled Hallucination of the Body. [Preprint]

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Abstract

This paper aims to provide an account of the subjective character of pain experience in terms of predictive processing. The PP theory is often taken to support a view of perceptual experience as a controlled hallucination of the external world. Transposed to pain this would have the consequence that pain is a controlled hallucination of the body. The PP theory would have the consequence that the body that is in pain is just another hidden cause of sensory input that stands in need of inference and control by the brain. We argue that pain experience cannot be a controlled hallucination of the body since the predictive machinery that constitutes pain experience is not brain bound. The subject’s pain experience is physically realised in a system that is spread
across the body as a whole. This system comprises the immune system, the endocrine system, and the autonomic system in continuous causal interaction with pathways spread across the whole neural axis. We will argue that these systems function in a coordinated and coherent manner as a single complex adaptive system to maintain homeostasis. This system, which we refer to as the neural-endocrine-immune (NEI) system maintains homeostasis through the process of prediction error minimisation. We go on to propose a view of the NEI system as a multiscale nesting of Markov blankets that integrates the smallest scale of the cell to the largest scale of the embodied person in pain. The NEI system is the embodied subject’s first-person perspective on the world. The PP theory, we will argue, can therefore make sense of how a living body that acts to minimise prediction error can also be a lived body, the subject’s embodied point of view on their surrounding world.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Kiverstein, Julianjulian.kiverstein@gmail.com
Kirchhoff, Michaelkirchhof@uow.edu.au
Thacker, Michaelmickthacker@icloud.com
Additional Information: Under review in Review of Philosophy and Psychology, considered for the special issue "Predictive Processing and Consciousness"
Keywords: Pain Experience; Predictive Processing; Active Inference; Controlled Hallucination;Nested Markov Blankets; Boundaries of Mind; Embodiment
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Perception
Depositing User: Dr Michael Kirchhoff
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2021 03:01
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2021 03:01
Item ID: 18770
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Perception
Date: 1 March 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18770

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