Lecture series: Prediction Machines

18th, 21st and 25th October 2016,  18:00 – 19:30.

Institute of Philosophy, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.

The Chandaria Lectures 2016

The Institute of Philosophy is delighted to announce that this year’s Chandaria Lecture series will be given by Professor Andy Clark of the University of Edinburgh 18th, 21st and 25th of October.

Lecture 1: Prediction Machines, 18th October, The Senate Room, First Floor.

Biological brains are increasingly cast as ‘prediction machines’: evolved organs forever trying to predict their own streams of incoming sensory stimulation. Rich, world-revealing perception only occurs, these stories suggest, when cascading neuronal activity is able to match the incoming sensory signal with a multi-level stream of apt ‘top-down’ predictions. This blurs the lines between perception, thought, and imagination, revealing them as inextricably tied together. In this talk, I first introduce this general explanatory schema, and then discuss these (and other) implications. I end by asking what all this suggests concerning the fundamental nature of our perceptual contact with the world.

Andy Clark was appointed to the Chair in Logic and Metaphysics at University of Edinburgh in 2004. Prior to that he had taught at the University of Glasgow, the University of Sussex, Washington University in St Louis, and Indiana University, Bloomington. He was Director of the Philosophy/Neuroscience/Psychology Program at Washington University in St Louis, and Director of the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University. His research interests include philosophy of mind and artificial intelligence, including robotics, artificial life, embodied cognition, and mind, technology and culture.

 

Lecture 2: Busting Out – Two Takes on the Predictive Brain,  21st October, Room 349, Third Floor.

In this talk, I contrast two ways of understanding the emerging vision of the predictive brain. One way (Conservative Predictive Processing) depicts the predictive brain as an insulated inner arena populated by richly reconstructive representations. The other (Radical Predictive Processing) stresses processes of circular causal influence linking brain, body, and world. Such processes deliver fast and frugal, action-involving solutions of the kind already highlighted by work in robotics and embodied cognition. I present some arguments that seem to favour the more radical reading. This raises questions concerning exactly how best to understand the core notions of prediction and prediction-error minimization themselves.

Andy Clark was appointed to the Chair in Logic and Metaphysics at University of Edinburgh in 2004. Prior to that he had taught at the University of Glasgow, the University of Sussex, Washington University in St Louis, and Indiana University, Bloomington. He was Director of the Philosophy/Neuroscience/Psychology Program at Washington University in St Louis, and Director of the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University. His research interests include philosophy of mind and artificial intelligence, including robotics, artificial life, embodied cognition, and mind, technology and culture.

 

 

Lecture Three: The Future of Prediction, 25th October, Room 349, Third Floor.

The ‘predictive processing’ framework shows great promise as a means of both understanding and integrating many of the core information processing strategies underlying perception, thought, and action. But this leaves many questions unanswered. What is the true scope of this story – can it really be a theory of ‘everything cognitive’? Is it falsifiable? Can a story that posits prediction error minimization as cognitive bedrock accommodate the undoubted attractions of novelty and exploration? What can it tell us about specifically human forms of thought and reason? And what, if anything, does it have to say about the nature and possibility of conscious experience itself?

Andy Clark was appointed to the Chair in Logic and Metaphysics at University of Edinburgh in 2004. Prior to that he had taught at the University of Glasgow, the University of Sussex, Washington University in St Louis, and Indiana University, Bloomington. He was Director of the Philosophy/Neuroscience/Psychology Program at Washington University in St Louis, and Director of the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University. His research interests include philosophy of mind and artificial intelligence, including robotics, artificial life, embodied cognition, and mind, technology and culture.

The lectures are open to the public and we hope to see you there.

For additional information please contact IP@sas.ac.uk.

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