The paper by that title, co-authored with neuroscientist Sonya Bahar, is now available on “early view” in the journal Cognitive Science. I think that means it’s available to the authors but not to the public yet. If anyone wants a copy, please let me know.

This is perhaps the most significant paper I’ve published.

Abstract:

We begin by distinguishing computationalism from a number of other theses that are sometimes

conflated with it. We also distinguish between several important kinds of computation: computation

in a generic sense, digital computation, and analog computation. Then, we defend a weak version of

computationalism—neural processes are computations in the generic sense. After that, we reject on

empirical grounds the common assimilation of neural computation to either analog or digital computation,

concluding that neural computation is sui generis. Analog computation requires continuous

signals; digital computation requires strings of digits. But current neuroscientific evidence indicates

that typical neural signals, such as spike trains, are graded like continuous signals but are constituted

by discrete functional elements (spikes); thus, typical neural signals are neither continuous signals

nor strings of digits. It follows that neural computation is sui generis. Finally, we highlight three

important consequences of a proper understanding of neural computation for the theory of cognition.

First, understanding neural computation requires a specially designed mathematical theory (or theories)

rather than the mathematical theories of analog or digital computation. Second, several popular

views about neural computation turn out to be incorrect. Third, computational theories of cognition

that rely on non-neural notions of computation ought to be replaced or reinterpreted in terms of neural

computation.

Gualtiero, the papers are available to all that have electronic access to “Cognitive Science” on Wiley. See:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1551-6709/earlyview

Marcin,

Thanks much for the clarification