Words lie in our way

Minds and Machines 4 (4):421-37 (1994)
Abstract
  The central claim of computationalism is generally taken to be that the brain is a computer, and that any computer implementing the appropriate program would ipso facto have a mind. In this paper I argue for the following propositions: (1) The central claim of computationalism is not about computers, a concept too imprecise for a scientific claim of this sort, but is about physical calculi (instantiated discrete formal systems). (2) In matters of formality, interpretability, and so forth, analog computation and digital computation are not essentially different, and so arguments such as Searle''s hold or not as well for one as for the other. (3) Whether or not a biological system (such as the brain) is computational is a scientific matter of fact. (4) A substantive scientific question for cognitive science is whether cognition is better modeled by discrete representations or by continuous representations. (5) Cognitive science and AI need a theoretical construct that is the continuous analog of a calculus. The discussion of these propositions will illuminate several terminology traps, in which it''s all too easy to become ensnared
Keywords Argument  Calculus  Computation  Logic  Science  Word
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References found in this work BETA
Stevan Harnad (1990). The Symbol Grounding Problem. Philosophical Explorations 42:335-346.
John Haugeland (1981). Analog and Analog. Philosophical Topics 12 (1):213-226.

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