Marr on computational-level theories

Philosophy of Science 77 (4):477-500 (2010)
According to Marr, a computational-level theory consists of two elements, the what and the why . This article highlights the distinct role of the Why element in the computational analysis of vision. Three theses are advanced: ( a ) that the Why element plays an explanatory role in computational-level theories, ( b ) that its goal is to explain why the computed function (specified by the What element) is appropriate for a given visual task, and ( c ) that the explanation consists in showing that the functional relations between the representing cells are similar to the “external” mathematical relations between the entities that these cells represent. *Received September 2009; revised January 2010. †To contact the author, please write to: Departments of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91905, Israel; e-mail:
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DOI 10.1086/656005
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Tyler Burge (1986). Individualism and Psychology. Philosophical Review 95 (January):3-45.

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