Commentary: The Problem of Mental Action: Predictive Control Without Sensory Sheets

  • Pezzulo G
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In mental action there is no motor output to be controlled and no sensory in-put vector that could be manipulated by bodily movement. It is therefore un-clear whether this specific target phenomenon can be accommodated under the predictive processing framework at all, or if the concept of " active inference " can be adapted to this highly relevant explanatory domain. This contribution puts the phenomenon of mental action into explicit focus by introducing a set of novel conceptual instruments and developing a first positive model, concen-trating on epistemic mental actions and epistemic self-control. Action initiation is a functionally adequate form of self-deception; mental actions are a specific form of predictive control of effective connectivity, accompanied and possibly even functionally mediated by a conscious " epistemic agent model " . The overall process is aimed at increasing the epistemic value of pre-existing states in the conscious self-model, without causally looping through sensory sheets or using the non-neural body as an instrument for active inference. Keywords Attentional agency | Cognitive af-fordance hypothesis | Cognitive agency | Epistemic agency | Epis-temic agent model | Epistemic goal states | Epistemic self-control | Epistemic value | Interactive in-ference | Interoceptive inference | M-autonomous | M-autonomy | Mind wandering | Phenomenal self-model | Predictive control | Veto control




Pezzulo, G. (2018). Commentary: The Problem of Mental Action: Predictive Control Without Sensory Sheets. Frontiers in Psychology, 9.

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