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Programs in the Explanation of Behavior

Robert Cummins
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 44, No. 2 (Jun., 1977), pp. 269-287
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/187351
Page Count: 19
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Programs in the Explanation of Behavior
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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to set forth a sense in which programs can and do explain behavior, and to distinguish from this a number of senses in which they do not. Once we are tolerably clear concerning the sort of explanatory strategy being employed, two rather interesting facts emerge; (1) though it is true that programs are "internally represented," this fact has no explanatory interest beyond the mere fact that the program is executed; (2) programs which are couched in information processing terms may have an explanatory interest for a given range of behavior which is independent of physiological explanations of the same range of behavior.

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