[Submitted on 23 Oct 2022]

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Abstract: This paper describes a path integral formulation of the free energy
principle. The ensuing account expresses the paths or trajectories that a
particle takes as it evolves over time. The main results are a method or
principle of least action that can be used to emulate the behaviour of
particles in open exchange with their external milieu. Particles are defined by
a particular partition, in which internal states are individuated from external
states by active and sensory blanket states. The variational principle at hand
allows one to interpret internal dynamics – of certain kinds of particles – as
inferring external states that are hidden behind blanket states. We consider
different kinds of particles, and to what extent they can be imbued with an
elementary form of inference or sentience. Specifically, we consider the
distinction between dissipative and conservative particles, inert and active
particles and, finally, ordinary and strange particles. Strange particles (look
as if they) infer their own actions, endowing them with apparent autonomy or
agency. In short – of the kinds of particles afforded by a particular partition
– strange kinds may be apt for describing sentient behaviour.

Submission history

From: Lancelot Da Costa [view email]

Sun, 23 Oct 2022 16:01:16 UTC (4,021 KB)

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