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Philosophy Faculty Works

Gualtiero Piccinini

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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

The Resilience Of Computationalism, Gualtiero Piccinini Dec 2010

The Resilience Of Computationalism, Gualtiero Piccinini

Philosophy Faculty Works

Computationalism—the view that cognition is computation—has always been controversial. It faces two types of objection. According to insufficiency objections, computation is insufficient for some cognitive phenomenon X. According to objections from neural realization, cognitive processes are realized by neural processes, but neural processes have feature Y, and having Y is incompatible with being (or realizing) computations. In this article, I explain why computationalism has survived these objections. To adjudicate the dispute between computationalism and its foes, I will conclude that we need a better account of computation.


Computing Mechanisms, Gualtiero Piccinini Oct 2007

Computing Mechanisms, Gualtiero Piccinini

Philosophy Faculty Works

This paper offers an account of what it is for a physical system to be a computing mechanism—a system that performs computations. A computing mechanism is a mechanism whose function is to generate output strings from input strings and (possibly) internal states, in accordance with a general rule that applies to all relevant strings and depends on the input strings and (possibly) internal states for its application. This account is motivated by reasons endogenous to the philosophy of computing, namely, doing justice to the practices of computer scientists and computability theorists. It is also an application of recent literature ...


Splitting Concepts, Gualtiero Piccinini, Sam Scott Oct 2006

Splitting Concepts, Gualtiero Piccinini, Sam Scott

Philosophy Faculty Works

A common presupposition in the concepts literature is that concepts constitute a singular natural kind. If, on the contrary, concepts split into more than one kind, this literature needs to be recast in terms of other kinds of mental representation. We offer two new arguments that concepts, in fact, divide into different kinds: (a) concepts split because different kinds of mental representation, processed independently, must be posited to explain different sets of relevant phenomena; (b) concepts split because different kinds of mental representation, processed independently, must be posited to explain responses to different kinds of category. Whether these arguments are ...