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Profile: Nir Fresco (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
  1.  96
    Nir Fresco & Giuseppe Primiero (2013). Miscomputation. Philosophy and Technology 26 (3):253-272.
    The phenomenon of digital computation is explained (often differently) in computer science, computer engineering and more broadly in cognitive science. Although the semantics and implications of malfunctions have received attention in the philosophy of biology and philosophy of technology, errors in computational systems remain of interest only to computer science. Miscomputation has not gotten the philosophical attention it deserves. Our paper fills this gap by offering a taxonomy of miscomputations. This taxonomy is underpinned by a conceptual analysis of the design (...)
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  2.  74
    Giuseppe Primiero, Nir Fresco & Luciano Floridi (2015). On Malfunctioning Software. Synthese 192 (4):1199-1220.
    Artefacts do not always do what they are supposed to, due to a variety of reasons, including manufacturing problems, poor maintenance, and normal wear-and-tear. Since software is an artefact, it should be subject to malfunctioning in the same sense in which other artefacts can malfunction. Yet, whether software is on a par with other artefacts when it comes to malfunctioning crucially depends on the abstraction used in the analysis. We distinguish between “negative” and “positive” notions of malfunction. A negative malfunction, (...)
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  3.  67
    Nir Fresco (2012). The Explanatory Role of Computation in Cognitive Science. Minds and Machines 22 (4):353-380.
    Which notion of computation (if any) is essential for explaining cognition? Five answers to this question are discussed in the paper. (1) The classicist answer: symbolic (digital) computation is required for explaining cognition; (2) The broad digital computationalist answer: digital computation broadly construed is required for explaining cognition; (3) The connectionist answer: sub-symbolic computation is required for explaining cognition; (4) The computational neuroscientist answer: neural computation (that, strictly, is neither digital nor analogue) is required for explaining cognition; (5) The extreme (...)
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  4.  35
    Nir Fresco & Phillip J. Staines (2014). A Revised Attack on Computational Ontology. Minds and Machines 24 (1):101-122.
    There has been an ongoing conflict regarding whether reality is fundamentally digital or analogue. Recently, Floridi has argued that this dichotomy is misapplied. For any attempt to analyse noumenal reality independently of any level of abstraction at which the analysis is conducted is mistaken. In the pars destruens of this paper, we argue that Floridi does not establish that it is only levels of abstraction that are analogue or digital, rather than noumenal reality. In the pars construens of this paper, (...)
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  5.  36
    Nir Fresco (2013). Information Processing as an Account of Concrete Digital Computation. Philosophy and Technology 26 (1):31-60.
    It is common in cognitive science to equate computation (and in particular digital computation) with information processing. Yet, it is hard to find a comprehensive explicit account of concrete digital computation in information processing terms. An information processing account seems like a natural candidate to explain digital computation. But when ‘information’ comes under scrutiny, this account becomes a less obvious candidate. Four interpretations of information are examined here as the basis for an information processing account of digital computation, namely Shannon (...)
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  6.  45
    Nir Fresco & Marty J. Wolf (2014). The Instructional Information Processing Account of Digital Computation. Synthese 191 (7):1469-1492.
    What is nontrivial digital computation? It is the processing of discrete data through discrete state transitions in accordance with finite instructional information. The motivation for our account is that many previous attempts to answer this question are inadequate, and also that this account accords with the common intuition that digital computation is a type of information processing. We use the notion of reachability in a graph to defend this characterization in memory-based systems and underscore the importance of instructional information for (...)
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  7. Nir Fresco (2010). Explaining Computation Without Semantics: Keeping It Simple. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 20 (2):165-181.
    This paper deals with the question: how is computation best individuated? -/- 1. The semantic view of computation: computation is best individuated by its semantic properties. 2. The causal view of computation: computation is best individuated by its causal properties. 3. The functional view of computation: computation is best individuated by its functional properties. -/- Some scientific theories explain the capacities of brains by appealing to computations that they supposedly perform. The reason for that is usually that computation is individuated (...)
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  8.  29
    Nir Fresco (2013). Concrete Digital Computation: Competing Accounts and its Role in Cognitive Science. Dissertation, University of New South Wales
    There are currently considerable confusion and disarray about just how we should view computationalism, connectionism and dynamicism as explanatory frameworks in cognitive science. A key source of this ongoing conflict among the central paradigms in cognitive science is an equivocation on the notion of computation simpliciter. ‘Computation’ is construed differently by computationalism, connectionism, dynamicism and computational neuroscience. I claim that these central paradigms, properly understood, can contribute to an integrated cognitive science. Yet, before this claim can be defended, a better (...)
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  9.  40
    Nir Fresco (2011). Concrete Digital Computation: What Does It Take for a Physical System to Compute? [REVIEW] Journal of Logic, Language and Information 20 (4):513-537.
    This paper deals with the question: what are the key requirements for a physical system to perform digital computation? Time and again cognitive scientists are quick to employ the notion of computation simpliciter when asserting basically that cognitive activities are computational. They employ this notion as if there was or is a consensus on just what it takes for a physical system to perform computation, and in particular digital computation. Some cognitive scientists in referring to digital computation simply adhere to (...)
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  10.  45
    Nir Fresco (2008). An Analysis of the Criteria for Evaluating Adequate Theories of Computation. Minds and Machines 18 (3):379-401.
    This paper deals with the question: What are the criteria that an adequate theory of computation has to meet? 1. Smith's answer: it has to meet the empirical criterion (i.e. doing justice to computational practice), the conceptual criterion (i.e. explaining all the underlying concepts) and the cognitive criterion (i.e. providing solid grounds for computationalism). 2. Piccinini's answer: it has to meet the objectivity criterion (i.e. identifying computation as a matter of fact), the explanation criterion (i.e. explaining the computer's behaviour), the (...)
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  11.  8
    Nir Fresco (forthcoming). Physical Computation: A Mechanistic Account, by Gualtiero Piccinini. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-1.
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  12.  15
    Nir Fresco & Michaelis Michael (2015). Information and Veridicality: Information Processing and the Bar-Hillel/Carnap Paradox. Philosophy of Science 83 (1):131-151.
    Floridi’s Theory of Strongly Semantic Information posits the Veridicality Thesis. One motivation is that it can serve as a foundation for information-based epistemology being an alternative to the tripartite theory of knowledge. However, the Veridicality thesis is false, if ‘information’ is to play an explanatory role in human cognition. Another motivation is avoiding the so-called Bar-Hillel/Carnap paradox. But this paradox only seems paradoxical, if ‘information’ and ‘informativeness’ are synonymous, logic is a theory of inference, or validity suffices for rational inference; (...)
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  13.  17
    Nir Fresco (2015). Objective Computation Versus Subjective Computation. Erkenntnis 80 (5):1031-1053.
    The question ‘What is computation?’ might seem a trivial one to many, but this is far from being in consensus in philosophy of mind, cognitive science and even in physics. The lack of consensus leads to some interesting, yet contentious, claims, such as that cognition or even the universe is computational. Some have argued, though, that computation is a subjective phenomenon: whether or not a physical system is computational, and if so, which computation it performs, is entirely a matter of (...)
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  14.  21
    Nir Fresco (2015). Information-How. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (1):58-78.
    The distinction between knowledge-how and knowledge-that has long been debated in the epistemological literature. This distinction can, arguably, be better understood in terms of a more fundamental distinction between information-how and information-that. Information-how is prescriptive and informs a cognitive agent about which action can be performed to achieve a particular outcome. Information-that is descriptive and informs the agent about events, objects, and states of affairs in the world. Since the latter has received more attention in the epistemological literature, this article (...)
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  15.  12
    Nir Fresco (2013). Instructional Information Processing: Replies Considered. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Technology 26 (1):71-72.
    Wolf and White address different aspects of the paper and in this present reply space only permits making two brief remarks. One concerns White’s intriguing observation that digital computation without erasing information is possible. The second concerns the importance of control information in digital computing systems.
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  16.  7
    Nir Fresco & Phillip J. Staines (2014). Erratum To: A Revised Attack on Computational Ontology. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 24 (1):141-141.
    Erratum to: Minds & Machines DOI 10.1007/s11023-013-9327-1Acknowledgment was omitted from the original publication of this article, and appears below.
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