Predictive brains, sentient robots, and the embodied self

Is the human brain just a rag-bag of different tricks and stratagems, slowly accumulated over evolutionary time? For many years, I thought the answer to this question was most probably ‘yes’. The
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Is the human brain just a rag-bag of different tricks and stratagems, slowly accumulated over evolutionary time? For many years, I thought the answer to this question was most probably ‘yes’. Sure, brains were fantastic organs for adaptive success. But the idea that there might be just a few core principles whose operation lay at the heart of much neural processing was not one that had made it on to my personal hit-list. Seminal work on Artificial Neural Networks had shown great promise. But it led not to a new and unifying vision of the brain so much as a plethora of cool engineering solutions to specific problems and puzzles. Meantime, the sciences of the mind were looking increasingly outwards, making huge strides in understanding how bodily form, action, and the canny use of environmental structures were co-operating with neural processes. This was the revolution summarily dubbed ‘embodied cognition’. My personal grail, though, was always something rather more systematic: a. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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