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Explanatory Pluralism: An Unrewarding Prediction Error for Free Energy Theorists

Colombo, Matteo and Wright, Cory (2015) Explanatory Pluralism: An Unrewarding Prediction Error for Free Energy Theorists. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Courtesy of its free energy formulation, the hierarchical predictive processing theory of the brain is often claimed to be a grand unifying theory. To test this claim, we consider a central case: reward-related activity of mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic (DA) systems. After reviewing the three most prominent hypotheses of DA activity—the anhedonia, incentive salience, and reward prediction error hypotheses—we conclude that current evidence vindicates explanatory pluralism, while leaves unwarranted the grand unifying claims of the predictive processing theory of the brain. More generally, we suggest that scientific progress in the cognitive sciences is unlikely to come in the form of a single overarching grand unifying theory.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Colombo, Matteom.colombo@uvt.nl
Wright, Corycory.wright@zoho.com
Keywords: dopamine; explanatory pluralism; free energy; predictive processing; reduction; reward prediction error; unification
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Dr. Matteo Colombo
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2015 12:42
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2015 12:42
Item ID: 11783
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Date: 24 May 2015
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11783

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