Semiotic Systems, Computers, and the Mind: How Cognition Could Be Computing

International Journal of Signs and Semiotic Systems 2 (1):32-71 (2012)
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Abstract

In this reply to James H. Fetzer’s “Minds and Machines: Limits to Simulations of Thought and Action”, I argue that computationalism should not be the view that (human) cognition is computation, but that it should be the view that cognition (simpliciter) is computable. It follows that computationalism can be true even if (human) cognition is not the result of computations in the brain. I also argue that, if semiotic systems are systems that interpret signs, then both humans and computers are semiotic systems. Finally, I suggest that minds can be considered as virtual machines implemented in certain semiotic systems, primarily the brain, but also AI computers. In doing so, I take issue with Fetzer’s arguments to the contrary.

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William J. Rapaport
State University of New York, Buffalo

Citations of this work

What an Algorithm Is.Robin K. Hill - 2016 - Philosophy and Technology 29 (1):35-59.
The philosophy of computer science.Raymond Turner - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Syntax, Semantics, and Computer Programs.William J. Rapaport - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):309-321.
Why think that the brain is not a computer?Marcin Miłkowski - 2016 - APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers 16 (2):22-28.

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References found in this work

Vision.David Marr - 1982 - W. H. Freeman.
Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 1651 - New York: Harmondsworth, Penguin.
The meaning of 'meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Minds, brains, and programs.John Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
Introduction to Metamathematics.Stephen Cole Kleene - 1952 - Princeton, NJ, USA: North Holland.

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