How is it that thoroughly physical material beings such as ourselves can think, dream, feel, create and understand ideas, theories and concepts? How does mere matter give rise to all these non-material mental states, including consciousness itself? An answer to this central question of our existence is emerging at the busy intersection of neuroscience, psychology, artificial intelligence, and robotics. In this groundbreaking work, philosopher and cognitive scientist Andy Clark explores exciting new theories from these fields that reveal minds like ours to be prediction machines - devices that have evolved to anticipate the incoming streams of sensory stimulation before they arrive. These predictions then initiate actions that structure our worlds and alter the very things we need to engage and predict. Clark takes us on a journey in discovering the circular causal flows and the self-structuring of the environment that define the predictive brain. What emerges is a bold, new, cutting-edge vision that reveals the brain as our driving force in the daily surf through the waves of sensory stimulation.
This is a truly important book. It is evocatively written and reflects a truly gargantuan amount of work. It sets the stage for future debates not only about the empirical merits of Bayesian characterizations of human cognition, but also the broader philosophical picture in which such Bayesian characterizations are embedded. I predict that many of us will be reading, discussing, and analysing this book in the months and years to come. * British Journal for the Philosophy of Science * A wonderful book...Clark's Surfing Uncertainty will become an essential point of departure for philosophers and cognitive scientists trying to come to grips with the apparatus of predictive processing. * Metascience * A stimulating read for anyone interested in the intersection of neuroscience and philosophy of mind from a scientific perspective. * Library Journal *