Jakob Hohwy

The Self-Evidencing Brain

Monday, May 2, 2016, 15.00-16.00

Venue: Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Luisenstraße 56, Room 220, 1st floor, 10117 Berlin

One of the most talked-about theories in current theoretical neuroscience is that the brain is an organ for prediction error minimization (PEM). PEM has extreme explanatory ambition, and profound philosophical implications. Here, I assume the theory, briefly explain it, and then I develop the idea that PEM implies that the brain is essentially self-evidencing. This means it is imperative to define an evidentiary boundary between the brain and its environment. This boundary defines the mind-world relation, opens the door to global skepticism, and makes the mind transpire as more inferentially secluded and neurocentrically skull-bound than many would nowadays think. PEM’s strongly neurocentric character means it deflates contemporary hypotheses that cognition is extended and embodied, but in spite of this it can accommodate the kinds of cases that fuel these hypotheses.