This paper deals with the question of agency and intentionality in the context of the free-energy principle. The free-energy principle is a system-theoretic framework for understanding living self-organizing systems and how they relate to their environments. I will first sketch the main philosophical positions in the literature: a rationalist Helmholtzian interpretation (Hohwy 2013; Clark 2013), a cybernetic interpretation (Seth 2015b) and the enactive affordance-based interpretation (Bruineberg and Rietveld 2014; Bruineberg et al. 2016) and will then show how agency and intentionality are construed differently on these different philosophical interpretations. I will then argue that a purely Helmholtzian is limited, in that it can account only account for agency in the context of perceptual inference. The cybernetic account cannot give a full account of action, since purposiveness is accounted for only to the extent that it pertains to the control of homeostatic essential variables. I will then argue that the enactive affordance-based account attempts to provide broader account of purposive action without presupposing goals and intentions coming from outside of the theory. In the second part of the paper, I will discuss how each of these three interpretations conceives of the sense agency and intentionality in different ways.
|Title of host publication||Philosophy and predictive processing|
|Editors||Thomas Metzinger, Wanja Wiese|
|Place of Publication||Frankfurt am Main|
|Number of pages||18|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|