Pancomputationalism: Theory or metaphor?

In Ruth Hagenbruger & Uwe V. Riss (eds.), Philosophy, computing and information science. Pickering & Chattoo. pp. 213-221 (2014)
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Abstract

The theory that all processes in the universe are computational is attractive in its promise to provide an understandable theory of everything. I want to suggest here that this pancomputationalism is not sufficiently clear on which problem it is trying to solve, and how. I propose two interpretations of pancomputationalism as a theory: I) the world is a computer and II) the world can be described as a computer. The first implies a thesis of supervenience of the physical over computation and is thus reduced ad absurdum. The second is underdetermined by the world, and thus equally unsuccessful as theory. Finally, I suggest that pancomputationalism as metaphor can be useful. – At the Paderborn workshop in 2008, this paper was presented as a commentary to the relevant paper by Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic " Info-Computationalism and Philosophical Aspects of Research in Information Sciences".

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Author's Profile

Vincent C. Müller
Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

References found in this work

The emperor’s new mind.Roger Penrose - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
A computational foundation for the study of cognition.David Chalmers - 2011 - Journal of Cognitive Science 12 (4):323-357.
Minds, Brains, and Programs.John Searle - 1980 - In John Heil (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
Concepts of supervenience.Jaegwon Kim - 1984 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 45 (December):153-76.
Models and reality.Hilary Putnam - 1980 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 45 (3):464-482.

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