David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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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.
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Citations of this work BETA
Gualtiero Piccinini (2010). The Mind as Neural Software? Understanding Functionalism, Computationalism, and Computational Functionalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):269-311.
Gualtiero Piccinini (2009). Computationalism in the Philosophy of Mind. Philosophy Compass 4 (3):515-532.
Carrie Figdor (2009). Semantic Externalism and the Mechanics of Thought. Minds and Machines 19 (1):1-24.
Gualtiero Piccinini (2007). Computational Modeling Vs. Computational Explanation: Is Everything a Turing Machine, and Does It Matter to the Philosophy of Mind? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):93 – 115.
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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