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Computation without Representation
Philosophical Studies (2008)
  • Gualtiero Piccinini, University of Missouri-St. Louis
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.
  • Computational States,
  • Computational Individuation
Publication Date
January, 2008
Citation Information
Piccinini, G. (2008). Computation without Representation. Philosophical Studies, 137(2), 205–241.