Skip to main content Accessibility help

Encodingism is not just a bad metaphor

  • Robert Mirski (a1) (a2) and Mark H. Bickhard (a2)


Brette's criticism of the coding metaphor focuses on its presence in neurosciences. We argue that this problematic view, which we call “encodingism,” is pernicious in any model of cognition that adopts it. We discuss some of the more specific problems it begets and then elaborate on Brette's action-based alternative to the coding framework.



Hide All
Allen, J. W. P. & Bickhard, M. H. (2013) Stepping off the pendulum: Why only an action-based approach can transcend the nativist–empiricist debate. Cognitive Development 28(2):96133. Available at:
Bickhard, M. H. (2001) Error dynamics: The dynamic emergence of error avoidance and error vicariants. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 13:199209.
Bickhard, M. H. (2003) Process and emergence: Normative function and representation. In: Process theories, ed. Seibt, J., pp. 121–55. Springer Netherlands.
Bickhard, M. H. (2009) The interactivist model. Synthese 166(3):547–91. Available at:
Bickhard, M. H. (2015a) Toward a model of functional brain processes: I. Central nervous system functional micro-architecture. Axiomathes 25(3):217–38. Available at:
Bickhard, M. H. (2015b) Toward a model of functional brain processes: II. Central nervous system functional macro-architecture. Axiomathes 25(4):377407. Available at:
Bickhard, M. H. (2015c) What could cognition be if not computation … or connectionism, or dynamic systems? Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 35(1):5366. Available at:
Bickhard, M. H. (2016a) Inter- and en- activism: Some thoughts and comparisons. New Ideas in Psychology 41:2332. Available at:
Bickhard, M. H. (2016b) The anticipatory brain: Two approaches. In: Müller, V. C. (Ed.), Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence, ed. Müller, V. C., pp. 259–81. Springer International.
Bickhard, M. H. & Campbell, R. L. (1996) Topologies of learning and development. New Ideas in Psychology 14(2):111–56. Available at:
Bickhard, M. H. & Terveen, L. (1996) Foundational issues in artificial intelligence and cognitive science: Impasse and solution (Advances in psychology, Vol. 109). Elsevier/North-Holland.
Clark, A. (2016) Surfing uncertainty: Prediction, action, and the embodied mind/Andy Clark. Oxford University Press.
Di Paolo, E. & De Jaegher, H. (2012) The interactive brain hypothesis. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 6:163. Available at:
Mirski, R. & Gut, A. (2018) Action-based versus cognitivist perspectives on socio-cognitive development: Culture, language and social experience within the two paradigms. Synthese 28(2):96.

Encodingism is not just a bad metaphor

  • Robert Mirski (a1) (a2) and Mark H. Bickhard (a2)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed