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Abstract: Van Gelder's characterization of the differences between the dynamical and computational hypotheses, in terms of the contrast between change versus state and geometry versus structure, suggests that the dynamical approach is also at odds with classical mechanism. Dynamical and mechanistic approaches are in fact allies: mechanism can identify components whose properties define the variables that are related in dynamical analyses
Abstract: In this paper I discuss Searle's claim that the computational properties of a system could never cause a system to be conscious. In the first section of the paper I argue that Searle is correct that, even if a system both behaves in a way that is characteristic of conscious agents (like ourselves) and has a computational structure similar to those agents, one cannot be certain that that system is conscious. On the other hand, I suggest that Searle's intuition that it is “empirically absurd” that such a system could be conscious is unfounded. In the second section I show that Searle's attempt to show that a system's computational states could not possibly cause it to be conscious is based upon an erroneous distinction between computational and physical properties. On the basis of these two arguments, I conclude that, supposing that the behavior of conscious agents can be explained in terms of their computational properties, we have good reason to suppose that a system having computational properties similar to such agents is also conscious
Abstract: What Robots Can and Can't Be (hereinafter Robots) is, as Selmer Bringsjord says "intended to be a collection of formal-arguments-that-border-on-proofs for the proposition that in all worlds, at all times, machines can't be minds" (Bringsjord, forthcoming). In his (1994) "Précis of What Robots Can and Can't Be" Bringsjord styles certain of these arguments as proceeding "repeatedly . . . through instantiations of" the "simple schema"
Abstract: Computationalism, a specie of functionalism, posits that a mental state like pain is realized by a ‘core’ computational state within a particular causal network of such states. This entails that what is realized by the core state is contingent on events remote in space and time, which puts computationalism at odds with the locality principle of physics. If computationalism is amended to respect locality, then it posits that a type of phenomenal experience is determined by a single type of computational state. But a computational state, considered by itself, is of no determinate type—it has no particular symbolic content, since it could be embedded in any of an infinite number of algorithms. Hence, if locality is respected, then the type of experience that is realized by a computational state, or whether any experience at all is realized, is under-determined by the computational nature of the state. Accordingly, Block’s absent and inverted qualia arguments against functionalism find support in the locality principle of physics. If computationalism denies locality to avoid this problem, then it cannot be considered a physicalist theory since it would entail a commitment to phenomena, like teleological causation and action-at-a-distance, that have long been rejected by modern science. The remaining theoretical alternative is to accept the locality principle for macro events and deny that formal, computational operations are sufficient to realize a phenomenal mental state
Luna, Laureano & Small, Christopher (2009). Intentionality and Computationalism. A Diagonal Argument.Mind and Matter 7 (1):81-90. (Google)
Abstract: Computationalism is the claim that all possible thoughts are computations, i.e. executions of algorithms. The aim of the paper is to show that if intentionality is semantically clear, in a way defined in the paper, then computationalism must be false. Using a convenient version of the phenomenological relation of intentionality and a diagonalization device inspired by Thomson's theorem of 1962, we show there exists a thought that canno be a computation.
Abstract: Computationalism has been the mainstream view of cognition for decades. There are periodic reports of its demise, but they are greatly exaggerated. This essay surveys some recent literature on computationalism and reaches the following conclusions. Computationalism is a family of theories about the mechanisms of cognition. The main relevant evidence for testing computational theories comes from neuroscience, though psychology and AI are relevant too. Computationalism comes in many versions, which continue to guide competing research programs in philosophy of mind as well as psychology and neuroscience. Although our understanding of computationalism has deepened in recent years, much work in this area remains to be done
Abstract: The Church–Turing Thesis (CTT) is often employed in arguments for computationalism. I scrutinize the most prominent of such arguments in light of recent work on CTT and argue that they are unsound. Although CTT does nothing to support computationalism, it is not irrelevant to it. By eliminating misunderstandings about the relationship between CTT and computationalism, we deepen our appreciation of computationalism as an empirical hypothesis.
Abstract: Church's thesis asserts that a number-theoretic function is intuitively computable if and only if it is recursive. A related thesis asserts that Turing's work yields a conceptual analysis of the intuitive notion of numerical computability. I endorse Church's thesis, but I argue against the related thesis. I argue that purported conceptual analyses based upon Turing's work involve a subtle but persistent circularity. Turing machines manipulate syntactic entities. To specify which number-theoretic function a Turing machine computes, we must correlate these syntactic entities with numbers. I argue that, in providing this correlation, we must demand that the correlation itself be computable. Otherwise, the Turing machine will compute uncomputable functions. But if we presuppose the intuitive notion of a computable relation between syntactic entities and numbers, then our analysis of computability is circular.
Rey, Georges (1994). Wittgenstein, computationalism, and qualia. In Roberto Casati, B. Smith & Stephen L. White (eds.), Philosophy and the Cognitive Sciences. Holder-Pichler-Tempsky. (Cited by 3 | Annotation | Google)
Computational functionalism about qualia is compatible with Wittgenstein's views. It makes sense of the points about "dividing through" my private objects, for example. With remarks on spectrum inversions.
Abstract: Computationalist theories of mind require brain symbols, that is, neural events that represent kinds or instances of kinds. Standard models of computation require multiple inscriptions of symbols with the same representational content. The satisfaction of two conditions makes it easy to see how this requirement is met in computers, but we have no reason to think that these conditions are satisfied in the brain. Thus, if we wish to give computationalist explanations of human cognition, without committing ourselvesa priori to a strong and unsupported claim in neuroscience, we must first either explain how we can provide multiple brain symbols with the same content, or explain how we can abandon standard models of computation. It is argued that both of these alternatives require us to explain the execution of complex tasks that have a cognition-like structure. Circularity or regress are thus threatened, unless noncomputationalist principles can provide the required explanations. But in the latter case, we do not know that noncomputationalist principles might not bear most of the weight of explaining cognition. Four possible types of computationalist theory are discussed; none appears to provide a promising solution to the problem. Thus, despite known difficulties in noncomputationalist investigations, we have every reason to pursue the search for noncomputationalist principles in cognitive theory
Abstract: I have argued elsewhere that non-sentential representations that are the close kin of scale models can be, and often are, realized by computational processes. I will attempt here to weaken any resistance to this claim that happens to issue from those who favor an across-the-board computational theory of cognitive activity. I will argue that embracing the idea that certain computers harbor nonsentential models gives proponents of the computational theory of cognition the means to resolve the conspicuous disconnect between the sentential character of the data structures they posit and the nonsentential qualitative character of our perceptual experiences of corporeal (i.e., spatial, kinematic, and dynamic) properties. Along the way, I will question the viability of some externalist remedies for this disconnect, and I will explain why the computational theory put forward here falls quite clearly beyond the useful bounds of the Chinese-Room argument