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The field and landscape of affordances: Koffka’s two environments revisited

The smooth integration of the natural sciences with everyday lived experience is an important ambition of radical embodied cognitive science. In this paper we start from Koffka’s recommendation in his Principles of Gestalt Psychology that to realize this ambition psychology should be a “science of molar behaviour”. Molar behavior refers to the purposeful behaviour of the whole...

Free Energy and the Self: An Ecological–Enactive Interpretation

According to the free energy principle all living systems aim to minimise free energy in their sensory exchanges with the environment. Processes of free energy minimisation are thus ubiquitous in the biological world. Indeed it has been argued that even plants engage in free energy minimisation. Not all living things however feel alive. How then did the feeling of being alive get...

The feeling of grip: novelty, error dynamics, and the predictive brain

According to the free energy principle biological agents resist a tendency to disorder in their interactions with a dynamically changing environment by keeping themselves in sensory and physiological states that are expected given their embodiment and the niche they inhabit (Friston in Nat Rev Neurosci 11(2):127–138, 2010. doi:10.​1038/​nrn2787). Why would a biological agent that...

The anticipating brain is not a scientist: the free-energy principle from an ecological-enactive perspective

In this paper, we argue for a theoretical separation of the free-energy principle from Helmholtzian accounts of the predictive brain. The free-energy principle is a theoretical framework capturing the imperative for biological self-organization in information-theoretic terms. The free-energy principle has typically been connected with a Bayesian theory of predictive coding, and...

The Primacy of Skilled Intentionality: on Hutto & Satne’s the Natural Origins of Content

Following a brief reconstruction of Hutto & Satne’s paper we focus our critical comments on two issues. First we take up H&S’s claim that a non-representational form of ur-intentionality exists that performs essential work in setting the scene for content-involving forms of intentionality. We will take issue with the characterisation that H&S give of this non-representational...