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  1. Two Kinds of Information Processing in Cognition.Mark Sprevak - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-21.
    What is the relationship between information and representation? Dating back at least to Dretske, an influential answer has been that information is a rung on a ladder that gets one to representation. Representation is information, or representation is information plus some other ingredient. In this paper, I argue that this approach oversimplifies the relationship between information and representation. If one takes current probabilistic models of cognition seriously, information is connected to representation in a new way. It enters as a property (...)
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  • Investigating Neural Representations: The Tale of Place Cells.William Bechtel - 2016 - Synthese 193 (5):1287-1321.
    While neuroscientists often characterize brain activity as representational, many philosophers have construed these accounts as just theorists’ glosses on the mechanism. Moreover, philosophical discussions commonly focus on finished accounts of explanation, not research in progress. I adopt a different perspective, considering how characterizations of neural activity as representational contributes to the development of mechanistic accounts, guiding the investigations neuroscientists pursue as they work from an initial proposal to a more detailed understanding of a mechanism. I develop one illustrative example involving (...)
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  • Mechanisms, Wide Functions, and Content: Towards a Computational Pluralism.Jonny Lee - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    In recent years, the ‘mechanistic view’ has developed as a popular alternative to the ‘semantic view’ concerning the identity of physical computation. However, semanticists have provided powerful arguments that suggest the mechanistic view fails to deliver essential distinctions between paradigmatic computational operations. This article reviews responses on behalf of the mechanist and uses this opportunity to propose a type of pluralism about computational identity. This pluralism contends that there are multiple ‘levels’ of properties and relations pertaining to computation that can (...)
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  • Forms of Luminosity: Epistemic Modality, Mind, and Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - 2017 - Gutenberg.
    This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The book demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; logical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the (...)
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  • Brains as Analog-Model Computers.Oron Shagrir - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (3):271-279.
    Computational neuroscientists not only employ computer models and simulations in studying brain functions. They also view the modeled nervous system itself as computing. What does it mean to say that the brain computes? And what is the utility of the ‘brain-as-computer’ assumption in studying brain functions? In previous work, I have argued that a structural conception of computation is not adequate to address these questions. Here I outline an alternative conception of computation, which I call the analog-model. The term ‘analog-model’ (...)
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  • The Non-­‐Redundant Contributions of Marr’s Three Levels of Analysis for Explaining Information Processing Mechanisms.William Bechtel & Oron Shagrir - 2015 - Topics in Cognitive Science 7 (2):312-322.
    Are all three of Marr's levels needed? Should they be kept distinct? We argue for the distinct contributions and methodologies of each level of analysis. It is important to maintain them because they provide three different perspectives required to understand mechanisms, especially information-processing mechanisms. The computational perspective provides an understanding of how a mechanism functions in broader environments that determines the computations it needs to perform. The representation and algorithmic perspective offers an understanding of how information about the environment is (...)
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  • From Computer Metaphor to Computational Modeling: The Evolution of Computationalism.Marcin Miłkowski - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (3):515-541.
    In this paper, I argue that computationalism is a progressive research tradition. Its metaphysical assumptions are that nervous systems are computational, and that information processing is necessary for cognition to occur. First, the primary reasons why information processing should explain cognition are reviewed. Then I argue that early formulations of these reasons are outdated. However, by relying on the mechanistic account of physical computation, they can be recast in a compelling way. Next, I contrast two computational models of working memory (...)
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  • Are Computational Transitions Sensitive to Semantics?Michael Rescorla - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (4):703-721.
    The formal conception of computation (FCC) holds that computational processes are not sensitive to semantic properties. FCC is popular, but it faces well-known difficulties. Accordingly, authors such as Block and Peacocke pursue a ?semantically-laden? alternative, according to which computation can be sensitive to semantics. I argue that computation is insensitive to semantics within a wide range of computational systems, including any system with ?derived? rather than ?original? intentionality. FCC yields the correct verdict for these systems. I conclude that there is (...)
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  • How to Think About Mental Content.Frances Egan - 2013 - Philosophical Studies (1):1-21.
    Introduction: representationalismMost theorists of cognition endorse some version of representationalism, which I will understand as the view that the human mind is an information-using system, and that human cognitive capacities are representational capacities. Of course, notions such as ‘representation’ and ‘information-using’ are terms of art that require explication. As a first pass, representations are “mediating states of an intelligent system that carry information” (Markman and Dietrich 2001, p. 471). They have two important features: (1) they are physically realized, and so (...)
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  • Toward Analog Neural Computation.Corey Maley - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (1):77-91.
    Computationalism about the brain is the view that the brain literally performs computations. For the view to be interesting, we need an account of computation. The most well-developed account of computation is Turing Machine computation, the account provided by theoretical computer science which provides the basis for contemporary digital computers. Some have thought that, given the seemingly-close analogy between the all-or-nothing nature of neural spikes in brains and the binary nature of digital logic, neural computation could be a species of (...)
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  • Bayesian Sensorimotor Psychology.Michael Rescorla - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (1):3-36.
    Sensorimotor psychology studies the mental processes that control goal-directed bodily motion. Recently, sensorimotor psychologists have provided empirically successful Bayesian models of motor control. These models describe how the motor system uses sensory input to select motor commands that promote goals set by high-level cognition. I highlight the impressive explanatory benefits offered by Bayesian models of motor control. I argue that our current best models assign explanatory centrality to a robust notion of mental representation. I deploy my analysis to defend intentional (...)
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  • More on the Origins of the Hues: A Reply to Broackes. [REVIEW]Wayne Wright - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (4):629-641.
    This paper responds to Justin Broackes’ reply to my paper, “On the retinal origins of the Hering primaries.” This paper aims to clarify and further develop the ideas presented in that article. I take up several of the points Broackes raises regarding the connection between my work and that of William Thornton (Journal of the Optical Society of America 61:1155–1163, 1971 ) and (Color Research and Application 24:139–156, 1999 ) on the “prime” and “anti-prime” colors of the human visual system, (...)
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  • Still Autonomous After All.Andrew Knoll - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (1):7-27.
    Recent mechanistic philosophers :1287–1321, 2016) have argued that the cognitive sciences are not autonomous from neuroscience proper. I clarify two senses of autonomy–metaphysical and epistemic—and argue that cognitive science is still autonomous in both senses. Moreover, mechanistic explanation of cognitive phenomena is not therefore an alternative to the view that cognitive science is autonomous of neuroscience. If anything, it’s a way of characterizing just how cognitive processes are implemented by neural mechanisms.
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  • In Defense of the Semantic View of Computation.Oron Shagrir - forthcoming - Synthese:1-26.
    The semantic view of computation is the claim that semantic properties play an essential role in the individuation of physical computing systems such as laptops and brains. The main argument for the semantic view rests on the fact that some physical systems simultaneously implement different automata at the same time, in the same space, and even in the very same physical properties. Recently, several authors have challenged this argument. They accept the premise of simultaneous implementation but reject the semantic conclusion. (...)
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