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Seeking Uncertainty: Predictive Processing and Enactive Curiosity

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Title: Seeking Uncertainty: Predictive Processing and Enactive Curiosity
Author: White, Dylan
Department: Department of Philosophy
Program: Philosophy
Advisor: Dedrick, Don
Abstract: Curiosity, novelty-seeking, and exploration are key features of behaviour throughout much of the animal kingdom. This was clear to psychologist Daniel Berlyne in the 1950s, as was the undue neglect of the scientific and philosophical study of curiosity. Curiosity, however, may be just as central to human and other animal life as the biological imperatives to seek food, shelter, and to reproduce. A dominant and growing theory within the cognitive sciences, predictive processing, has the potential to shed much light on the nature and function of curiosity but these efforts are challenged by the so-called Dark Room Problem, which states that curiosity is counter to the predictive processing mandate to resolve uncertainty. The present treatment considers some answers to the Dark Room Problem and offers a novel (dis)solution, arguing for an enactivist reading of predictive processing and developing a theory of enactive curiosity using insights from sensorimotor enactivism, developmental psychology, and robotics.
Date: 2021-05
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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