The Free Energy principle
Scientific evidence suggests that brains tend to behave like predictive machines, and they work that way to conserve, allocate, and obtain resources for organismic function. The Free Energy Principle (FEP) is claimed as a unified brain theory that solves different cognitive functions under the same formalism. The FEP is increasingly influential in many areas with special emphasis on neurobiology, computational neuroscience and philosophy of mind. While the FEP has strong associations with the Bayesian brain hypothesis and predictive coding models in neuroscience at the basis of prediction error minimization and predictive processing theories in philosophy of mind, it is not implied by them. What is it that makes the FEP relevant to the Bayesian brain accounts of cognition? In this course students will learn in detail about the FEP and its relations to the Bayesian brain to critically assess its value as a theory of the mind and brain. More specifically, students will learn the essential terminology of the FEP applied to biology and the brain, its formalisms and real-world applications in science and technology.