A theory of computational implementation

Synthese 191 (6):1277-1307 (2014)
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Abstract

I articulate and defend a new theory of what it is for a physical system to implement an abstract computational model. According to my descriptivist theory, a physical system implements a computational model just in case the model accurately describes the system. Specifically, the system must reliably transit between computational states in accord with mechanical instructions encoded by the model. I contrast my theory with an influential approach to computational implementation espoused by Chalmers, Putnam, and others. I deploy my theory to illuminate the relation between computation and representation. I also rebut arguments, propounded by Putnam and Searle, that computational implementation is trivial

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Michael Rescorla
University of California, Los Angeles

References found in this work

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong.Jerry A. Fodor - 1998 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 2008 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 36 (3):602-605.
A computational foundation for the study of cognition.David Chalmers - 2011 - Journal of Cognitive Science 12 (4):323-357.

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