David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Minds and Machines 22 (4):353-380 (2012)
Which notion of computation (if any) is essential for explaining cognition? Five answers to this question are discussed in the paper. (1) The classicist answer: symbolic (digital) computation is required for explaining cognition; (2) The broad digital computationalist answer: digital computation broadly construed is required for explaining cognition; (3) The connectionist answer: sub-symbolic computation is required for explaining cognition; (4) The computational neuroscientist answer: neural computation (that, strictly, is neither digital nor analogue) is required for explaining cognition; (5) The extreme dynamicist answer: computation is not required for explaining cognition. The first four answers are only accurate to a first approximation. But the “devil” is in the details. The last answer cashes in on the parenthetical “if any” in the question above. The classicist argues that cognition is symbolic computation. But digital computationalism need not be equated with classicism. Indeed, computationalism can, in principle, range from digital (and analogue) computationalism through (the weaker thesis of) generic computationalism to (the even weaker thesis of) digital (or analogue) pancomputationalism. Connectionism, which has traditionally been criticised by classicists for being non-computational, can be plausibly construed as being either analogue or digital computationalism (depending on the type of connectionist networks used). Computational neuroscience invokes the notion of neural computation that may (possibly) be interpreted as a sui generis type of computation. The extreme dynamicist argues that the time has come for a post-computational cognitive science. This paper is an attempt to shed some light on this debate by examining various conceptions and misconceptions of (particularly digital) computation
|Keywords||Computation Connectionism Dynamicism Computationalism Classicism Computational neuroscience Cognitive science Mechanistic explanation Representation|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
William Bechtel (2009). Constructing a Philosophy of Science of Cognitive Science. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 1 (3):548-569.
William Bechtel (1998). Dynamicists Versus Computationalists: Whither Mechanists? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):629-629.
William P. Bechtel (1998). Representations and Cognitive Explanations: Assessing the Dynamicist Challenge in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science 22 (3):295-317.
William P. Bechtel, Pete Mandik, Jennifer Mundale & Robert S. Stufflebeam (eds.) (2001). Philosophy and the Neurosciences: A Reader. Blackwell.
William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen (2002). Connectionism and the Mind: Parallel Processing, Dynamics, and Evolution in Networks. Wiley-Blackwell.
Citations of this work BETA
Alexandre Castro (2013). The Thermodynamic Cost of Fast Thought. Minds and Machines 23 (4):473-487.
Prakash Mondal (2014). Does Computation Reveal Machine Cognition? Biosemiotics 7 (1):97-110.
Alexandre de Castro (2013). The Thermodynamic Cost of Fast Thought. Minds and Machines 23 (4):473-487.
Similar books and articles
David J. Chalmers (1994). On Implementing a Computation. Minds and Machines 4 (4):391-402.
Richard Montgomery (1998). Grades of Explanation in Cognitive Science. Synthese 114 (3):463-495.
Jonathan Opie & Gerard O'Brien (2006). How Do Connectionist Networks Compute? Cognitive Processing 7 (1):30-41.
David J. Chalmers (2011). A Computational Foundation for the Study of Cognition. Journal of Cognitive Science 12 (4):323-357.
Paul R. Thagard (2002). How Molecules Matter to Mental Computation. Philosophy of Science 69 (3):497-518.
Nir Fresco (2011). Concrete Digital Computation: What Does It Take for a Physical System to Compute? [REVIEW] Journal of Logic, Language and Information 20 (4):513-537.
Nir Fresco (2013). Information Processing as an Account of Concrete Digital Computation. Philosophy and Technology 26 (1):31-60.
Amir Horowitz (2007). Computation, External Factors, and Cognitive Explanations. Philosophical Psychology 20 (1):65-80.
Gualtiero Piccinini & Andrea Scarantino (2011). Information Processing, Computation, and Cognition. Journal of Biological Physics 37 (1):1-38.
Nir Fresco (2010). Explaining Computation Without Semantics: Keeping It Simple. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 20 (2):165-181.
Tim van Gelder (1998). Computers and Computation in Cognitive Science. In T.M. Michalewicz (ed.), Advances in Computational Life Sciences Vol.2: Humans to Proteins. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing.
Jordi Fernández (2003). Explanation by Computer Simulation in Cognitive Science. Minds and Machines 13 (2):269-284.
Jacqueline Anne Sullivan (2010). A Role for Representation in Cognitive Neurobiology. Philosophy of Science (Supplement) 77 (5):875-887.
Gualtiero Piccinini & Andrea Scarantino (2010). Computation Vs. Information Processing: Why Their Difference Matters to Cognitive Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (3):237-246.
Valerie Gray Hardcastle (1995). Computationalism. Synthese 105 (3):303-17.
Added to index2012-07-14
Total downloads37 ( #46,537 of 1,101,585 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #59,635 of 1,101,585 )
How can I increase my downloads?