Predictive processing mind models vs the binding problem

E-Intentionality, 12:00-12:50, March 11th 2016, Arundel 1C (note change of room)

Steven Broadrick: Predictive processing mind models vs the binding problem

cover-for-net-198x300Predictive processing mind models (PPMM) can, according to advocates such as Jakob Hohwy, account for the binding of visual percepts in their set-up. However, these arguments suffer from their lack of taking into account the necessary flexibility the model would need to possess in order to incorporate all of the differing types and aspects of visual binding. In working towards a conception of PPMM which can avoid running into these difficulties, I anticipate a model which does not bind visual percepts but performs operations on an already-bound visual world. However, before defining the specifics of either the model or the nature of the operations, it is necessary to try and construct a solid argument as to exactly how the visual world might be bound without the need for internal brain mechanisms to perform the binding. This talk will take two approaches as to how that argument might be constructed. Firstly, a cognitive science-based approach which examines and critiques those positions in which binding has already taken place in order to ascertain whether it is a coherent line to take. In this instance, I will look at Anne Treisman’s attentional spotlight hypothesis, and highlight some of the issues and problems surrounding it. Secondly, there should be a philosophical approach in which the prospect of world-centred binding is given a convincing metaphysical grounding. To this end, I will examine Donald Hoffman’s interface theory of perception and question whether aspects of it can be reversed to suggest that, contrary to Hoffman’s position, there is something akin to an objective, bound reality. I conclude by noting that if one could combine a watertight cognitive science-based argument as to why visual binding did not depend on internal brain mechanisms with an equally fleshed-out metaphysics that pointed towards ‘the world taking care of itself’, then one would have a solid theoretical base for proceeding with a reworking of the PPMM model.

Notes (.pdf)

Audio (15 MB; discussion only)

Remaining E-Intentionality dates and venues for Spring Term 2016:

  • Mar 25: No meeting (Easter break)
  • April 01: Pevensey 2A11 (Simon Bowes TBC)
  • April 15: Pevensey 2A2 (TBA)
  • April 29: Pevensey 2A2 (TBA)



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