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Extended predictive minds: do Markov Blankets matter?

Facchin, Marco (2021) Extended predictive minds: do Markov Blankets matter? [Preprint]

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Abstract

The extended mind thesis claims that a subject’s mind sometimes encompasses the environmental props the subject interacts with while solving cognitive tasks. Recently, the debate over the extended mind has been focused on Markov Blankets: the statistical boundaries separating biological systems from the environment. Here, I argue such a focus is mistaken, because Markov Blankets neither adjudicate, nor help us adjudicate, whether the extended mind thesis is true. To do so, I briefly introduce Markov Blankets and the free energy principle in section 2. I then turn from exposition to criticism. In section 3, I argue that using Markov Blankets to determine whether the mind extends either begs the question against the extended mind or provides us an answer based on circular reasoning. In section 4, I consider whether Markov Blankets help us perspicuously frame the debate over the extended mind, answering in the negative. This is because resorting to Markov Blankets to determine whether the mind extends yields extensionally inadequate conclusions which violate the parity principle. In section 5, I argue that resorting to Markov Blankets makes internalism about the mind vacuously true, preventing any substantial inquiry over the extended mind. A brief concluding paragraph follows.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Facchin, Marcomarco.facchin@iusspavia.it0000-0001-5753-9873
Keywords: Extended Mind, Free-energy Principle, Markov Blankets, Active Inference
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: Dr. Marco Facchin
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2021 14:01
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2021 14:01
Item ID: 19357
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: 22 July 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19357

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