David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):32–73 (2008)
I offer an explication of the notion of computer, grounded in the practices of computability theorists and computer scientists. I begin by explaining what distinguishes computers from calculators. Then, I offer a systematic taxonomy of kinds of computer, including hard-wired versus programmable, general-purpose versus special-purpose, analog versus digital, and serial versus parallel, giving explicit criteria for each kind. My account is mechanistic: which class a system belongs in, and which functions are computable by which system, depends on the system's mechanistic properties. Finally, I briefly illustrate how my account sheds light on some issues in the history and philosophy of computing as well as the philosophy of mind.
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Citations of this work BETA
Gualtiero Piccinini & Carl Craver (2011). Integrating Psychology and Neuroscience: Functional Analyses as Mechanism Sketches. [REVIEW] Synthese 183 (3):283-311.
Gualtiero Piccinini (2010). The Mind as Neural Software? Understanding Functionalism, Computationalism, and Computational Functionalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):269-311.
Corey J. Maley (2011). Analog and Digital, Continuous and Discrete. Philosophical Studies 155 (1):117-131.
Gualtiero Piccinini (2009). Computationalism in the Philosophy of Mind. Philosophy Compass 4 (3):515-532.
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.
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