Does a rock implement every finite-state automaton?

Synthese 108 (3):309-33 (1996)
Hilary Putnam has argued that computational functionalism cannot serve as a foundation for the study of the mind, as every ordinary open physical system implements every finite-state automaton. I argue that Putnam's argument fails, but that it points out the need for a better understanding of the bridge between the theory of computation and the theory of physical systems: the relation of implementation. It also raises questions about the class of automata that can serve as a basis for understanding the mind. I develop an account of implementation, linked to an appropriate class of automata, such that the requirement that a system implement a given automaton places a very strong constraint on the system. This clears the way for computation to play a central role in the analysis of mind.
Keywords Automata  Cognition  Computation  Finite  Metaphysics  State  Putnam, H
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DOI 10.1007/BF00413692
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References found in this work BETA
John R. Searle (1980). Minds, Brains and Programs. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
David Lewis (1973). Causation. Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Ned Block (1981). Psychologism and Behaviorism. Philosophical Review 90 (1):5-43.

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Citations of this work BETA
Gualtiero Piccinini (2007). Computing Mechanisms. Philosophy of Science 74 (4):501-526.
Gualtiero Piccinini (2008). Computers. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):32–73.
Thomas W. Polger (2007). Realization and the Metaphysics of Mind. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):233 – 259.

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