Synthese 193 (12):3931-3949 (2016)

Authors
Anna-Mari Rusanen
University of Helsinki
Abstract
Computational explanations focus on information processing required in specific cognitive capacities, such as perception, reasoning or decision-making. These explanations specify the nature of the information processing task, what information needs to be represented, and why it should be operated on in a particular manner. In this article, the focus is on three questions concerning the nature of computational explanations: What type of explanations they are, in what sense computational explanations are explanatory and to what extent they involve a special, “independent” or “autonomous” level of explanation. In this paper, we defend the view computational explanations are genuine explanations, which track non-causal/formal dependencies. Specifically, we argue that they do not provide mere sketches for explanation, in contrast to what for example Piccinini and Craver :283–311, 2011) suggest. This view of computational explanations implies some degree of “autonomy” for the computational level. However, as we will demonstrate that does not make this view “computationally chauvinistic” in a way that Piccinini or Kaplan :339–373, 2011) have charged it to be.
Keywords Computational explanation  Mechanistic explanation  Causality  Computational chauvinism  Philosophy of neuroscience  Marr
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-016-1101-5
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 55,935
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
Color Realism and Color Science.Alex Byrne & David R. Hilbert - 2003 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (1):3-21.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.

View all 34 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Brain as an Input–Output Model of the World.Oron Shagrir - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (1):53-75.
The role of the environment in computational explanations.Jens Harbecke & Oron Shagrir - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (3):1-19.
The role of the environment in computational explanations.Jens Harbecke & Oron Shagrir - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (3):1-19.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Nature of Dynamical Explanation.Carlos Zednik - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (2):238-263.
Computational Explanation and Mechanistic Explanation of Mind.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2007 - In Francesco Ferretti, Massimo Marraffa & Mario De Caro (eds.), Synthese. Springer. pp. 343-353.
Computation Without Representation.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (2):205-241.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2016-05-08

Total views
53 ( #186,512 of 2,403,163 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #361,711 of 2,403,163 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes