Synthese 105 (3):303-17 (1995)
What counts as a computation and how it relates to cognitive function are important questions for scientists interested in understanding how the mind thinks. This paper argues that pragmatic aspects of explanation ultimately determine how we answer those questions by examining what is needed to make rigorous the notion of computation used in the (cognitive) sciences. It (1) outlines the connection between the Church-Turing Thesis and computational theories of physical systems, (2) differentiates merely satisfying a computational function from true computation, and finally (3) relates how we determine a true computation to the functional methodology in cognitive science. All of the discussion will be directed toward showing that the only way to connect formal notions of computation to empirical theory will be in virtue of the pragmatic aspects of explanation.
Keywords Church's Thesis  Cognition  Computation  Functionalism  Metaphysics
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DOI 10.1007/BF01063561
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