Russell's structuralism and the supposed death of computational cognitive science

Minds and Machines 19 (2):181-197 (2009)
Abstract
John Searle believes that computational properties are purely formal and that consequently, computational properties are not intrinsic, empirically discoverable, nor causal; and therefore, that an entity’s having certain computational properties could not be sufficient for its having certain mental properties. To make his case, Searle employs an argument that had been used before him by Max Newman, against Russell’s structuralism; one that Russell himself considered fatal to his own position. This paper formulates a not-so-explored version of Searle’s problem with computational cognitive science, and refutes it by suggesting how our understanding of computation is far from implying the structuralism Searle vitally attributes to it. On the way, I formulate and argue for a thesis that strengthens Newman’s case against Russell’s structuralism, and thus raises the apparent risk for computational cognitive science too.
Keywords Computation  Multiple realizability  Strong AI  Structuralism  Searle  Russell  Truth
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