Is Computation Based on Interpretation?

Semiotica 2012 (188):219-228 (2012)
Authors
Marcin Miłkowski
Polish Academy of Sciences
Abstract
I argue that influential purely syntactic views of computation, shared by such philosophers as John Searle and Hilary Putnam, are mistaken. First, I discuss common objections, and during the discussion I mention additional necessary conditions of implementation of computations in physical processes that are neglected in classical philosophical accounts of computation. Then I try to show why realism in regards of physical computations is more plausible, and more coherent with any realistic attitude towards natural science than the received view, and distinguish computational simulation, implementation, and re-engineering. I also point out the sources of confusion about what computation is that seem to stem from disregarding the use/mention distinction.
Keywords computation  implementation  algorithm  complexity  realism  Searle
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DOI 10.1515/sem-2012-0015
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