Beyond Formal Structure: A Mechanistic Perspective on Computation and Implementation

Journal of Cognitive Science 12 (4):359-379 (2011)
Abstract
In this article, after presenting the basic idea of causal accounts of implementation and the problems they are supposed to solve, I sketch the model of computation preferred by Chalmers and argue that it is too limited to do full justice to computational theories in cognitive science. I also argue that it does not suffice to replace Chalmers’ favorite model with a better abstract model of computation; it is necessary to acknowledge the causal structure of physical computers that is not accommodated by the models used in computability theory. Additionally, an alternative mechanistic proposal is outlined.
Keywords computation  implementation  analog computing  computational explanation
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