The philosophical computer store

Once again, searching for unconventional computing methods as well as for a neurocomputational theory of cognition requires knowing what does and does not count as computing. A question that may
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You go into a new computer store. Everything seems normal: you see Apple computers, Dell computers, HP computers … the regular computer brands you are familiar with. But then you notice a weird area. On one shelf, there are a bunch of rocks labeled “Putnam’s rock.” On another, there are pieces of brick wall labeled “Searle’s wall.” On yet another, there are buckets of water labeled “Hinckfuss’ pail.” The price of these unorthodox items is lower than the price of Apples, Dells, and HPs — much lower. But something seems wrong. For starters, no specs are listed next to these philosophical computers. Question: are they a good deal? The answer depends on which physical systems perform which computations. If rocks, pieces of wall, and buckets of water can perform the same computations that ordinary Apples and Dells can, then these philosophical computers are a good deal — especially considering that you could easily build them by yourself. Otherwise, they may be a scam. It’s easy to scoff. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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