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Medium Independence and the Failure of the Mechanistic Account of Computation

Maley, Corey (2022) Medium Independence and the Failure of the Mechanistic Account of Computation. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Current orthodoxy takes representation to be essential to computation. However, a philosophical account of computation that does not appeal to representation would be useful, given the difficulties involved in successfully theorizing representation. Piccinini’s recent mechanistic account of computation proposes to do just that: it couches computation in terms of what certain mechanisms do without requiring the manipulation or processing of representations whatsoever (Piccinini, 2015). Most crucially, mechanisms must process medium-independent vehicles. There are two ways to understand what "medium-independence" means on this account; however, on either understanding, the account fails. Either too many things end up being counted as computational, or purportedly natural computations (e.g., neural computations) cannot be counted at all. In the end, illustrating this failure sheds some light on the way to revise the orthodoxy in the hope of a better account of computation.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Maley, CoreyJ0000-0001-6221-3181
Keywords: computation, mechanism
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Computation
Specific Sciences > Computation/Information
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Dr. Corey Maley
Date Deposited: 24 Dec 2022 16:05
Last Modified: 24 Dec 2022 16:05
Item ID: 21586
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Computation
Specific Sciences > Computation/Information
General Issues > Explanation
Date: 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21586

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