The Unexplained Intellect: Consequences of Imperfection

The previous post argued that Theoretical Computer Science can show things to be naturalistically inexplicable—(where this is much stronger than showing them to be inexplicable with a Classically Computational Theory)—by showing those things to require more time than the universe allows.  I’ve not yet said anything about which things might …

The Importance of Miscomputation

Anyone familiar with the philosophical literature on representation is familiar with the notion of misrepresentation. The standard view is that any robust notion of representation must make it possible to have misrepresentation. If something cannot misrepresent, it does not represent at all. At least not in the most interesting and …

There Are Many Kinds of Computing Systems

One of the ways that the philosophical literature on computation is traditionally impoverished is that it tends to focus on just one or two paradigmatic examples, such as Turing machines or traditional digital computers. Perhaps because of this, some philosophers have produced accounts of physical computation from which it follows …

Does Every Physical System Compute?

In my previous post, I introduced pancomputationalism–the idea that every physical system performs computations. There are three main versions of pancomputationalism. Unlimited pancomputationalism says that every physical system performs just about any computation you like. For example, a piece of the Berlin wall sitting outside a museum, like the one in …

Does Computation Require Representation?

Most of the philosophers who discuss computation are interested in computation because they are interested in the computational theory of cognition. Cognitive systems are typically assumed to represent things, and computation is supposed to help explain how they represent. So many philosophers conclude that computation is the manipulation of representations. …

Is Computation Abstract or Concrete?

John Schwenkler kindly asked me to blog about my new book, Physical Computation: A Mechanistic Account. I am grateful for the invitation. The original motivation for the research that led to the book was to make progress on the vexed question of whether cognition involves computation. That seems to require …

SpaceTimeMind

You may (or may not) have noticed that Pete Mandik and Richard Brown (me) have started a podcast, called SpaceTimeMind, where we talk about tax law updates for 2014, uh, I mean, er, we talk about space and time and mind! The first episode is up now (and has been …

Information Processing, Computation, and Cognition

In a new paper by Andrea Scarantino and me, we outline the relations between cognition and (different notions of) computation and information processing, as well as the relations between the different notions of computation and information processing.  To my knowledge, this has not been done before (except in an earlier, less sophisticated …

The Church-Turing Fallacy

The Church-Turing fallacy is the fallacy of supposing that the Church-Turing thesis (CT) or some other idea of Church and Turing entails that the mind can be explained computationally (i.e., computationalism).  (The term ‘Church-Turing fallacy’ is due to Jack Copeland.)IMHO, CT is one of the technical ideas most heavily abused by philosophers of mind.CT …