Tomer Fekete (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
Title: What Role will Predictive Processing Ultimately Play in Cognitive Science?
The framework of predictive processing (PP) has gained traction in recent years, having been suggested as an organizing principle aligning perception with action and even emotions, and some have gone as far as claiming it to establish basic awareness. In light of these developments, it could be asked what role PP can be expected to ultimately play in the cognitive sciences. We will examine three possible answers starting with the most ambitious one:
1) PP is a Theory of Consciousness.
2) PP is a Theory of Cognition.
3) PP is a plausible, perhaps, unavoidable algorithm underlying decision-making processes under uncertainty.
Considerations from the posterior explanatory power of PP suggest that it is not endowed with the requisite conceptual apparatus necessary to account for the emergence of cognition, namely a mechanism for generating new ideas and knowledge.
How is a new idea, hypothesis, or category added to an existing repertoire of ideas/hypotheses/categories, according to PP? However, in considering the relentless impinging of environmental information on the senses and the need for timely response in the face of limited computational resources, PP seems all but unavoidable as a basic decision-making mechanism under uncertainty. Thus, even though PP may not be the ultimate theory of cognition, it will likely turn out as one of the pillars of such theory.