Computation without representation

Philosophical Studies 137 (2):205-241 (2008)
The received view is that computational states are individuated at least in part by their semantic properties. I offer an alternative, according to which computational states are individuated by their functional properties. Functional properties are specified by a mechanistic explanation without appealing to any semantic properties. The primary purpose of this paper is to formulate the alternative view of computational individuation, point out that it supports a robust notion of computational explanation, and defend it on the grounds of how computational states are individuated within computability theory and computer science. A secondary purpose is to show that existing arguments for the semantic view are defective.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy of Religion   Philosophy of Mind   Epistemology   Logic   Philosophy
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Gualtiero Piccinini (2007). Computing Mechanisms. Philosophy of Science 74 (4):501-526.
Gualtiero Piccinini (2008). Computers. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):32–73.

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