The machine as data: a computational view of emergence and definability

Synthese 192 (7):1955-1988 (2015)
Abstract
Turing’s paper on computable numbers has played its role in underpinning different perspectives on the world of information. On the one hand, it encourages a digital ontology, with a perceived flatness of computational structure comprehensively hosting causality at the physical level and beyond. On the other, it can give an insight into the way in which higher order information arises and leads to loss of computational control—while demonstrating how the control can be re-established, in special circumstances, via suitable type reductions. We examine the classical computational framework more closely than is usual, drawing out lessons for the wider application of information–theoretical approaches to characterizing the real world. The problem which arises across a range of contexts is the characterizing of the balance of power between the complexity of informational structure and the means available to bring this information back into the computational fold. We proceed via appropriate mathematical modelling to a more coherent view of the computational structure of information, relevant to a wide spectrum of areas of investigation
Keywords Higher order computation  Turing definability  Emergence  Embodiment  Incomputability  Universality
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-015-0803-4
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Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
The Philosophy of Information.Luciano Floridi - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
On the Proper Treatment of Connectionism.Paul Smolensky - 1988 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (1):1-23.

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