There and Back Again: From Physics to Epistemic Agents
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This thesis is about how a certain combination of current scientific insights and ideas suggests how we may think of epistemic agents doing science as particular kinds of very complex physical systems. It is thereby about how we could formulate an account where we go from a physical description of the world to one that contains epistemic agents that can devise that physical description in the first place. This thesis will thus be focused on the question of how knowledge of the world, or science more specifically, is possible in a world that—on certain readings of our current scientific image—is ‘ultimately’ physical. For this purpose, I will draw on contemporary ideas emerging in complexity science and cognitive science, such as the 'free energy principle'. The resulting account may also partly serve as a naturalistic theory of epistemology.