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Computation without Representation

Gualtiero Piccinini
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 137, No. 2 (Jan., 2008), pp. 205-241
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40208827
Page Count: 37
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Computation without Representation
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Abstract

The received view is that computational states are individuated at least in part by their semantic properties. I offer an alternative, according to which computational states are individuated by their functional properties. Functional properties are specified by a mechanistic explanation without appealing to any semantic properties. The primary purpose of this paper is to formulate the alternative view of computational individuation, point out that it supports a robust notion of computational explanation, and defend it on the grounds of how computational states are individuated within computability theory and computer science. A secondary purpose is to show that existing arguments for the semantic view are defective.

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