The diversity of Bayesian explanation: A reply to Dominic L. Harkness

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My claim is that, if we understand the function of the brain in terms of the free energy principle, then the brain can explain the mind. Harkness discusses some objections to this claim, and proposes a cautious way of solidifying the explanatory potential of the free energy principle. In this response, I sketch a wide, diverse, and yet pleasingly Bayesian conception of scientific explanation. According to this conception, the free energy principle is already richly explanatory.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOpen MIND
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophy and the Mind Sciences in the 21st Century
EditorsThomas Metzinger, Jennifer M. Windt
Place of PublicationCambridge MA USA
PublisherThe MIT Press
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780262034609
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Bayesian explanation
  • Free-energy principle
  • Functionalism
  • Mechanistic explanation
  • Philosophy of neuroscience
  • Scientific explanation
  • Scientific unification

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