PhilSci Archive

The Multiple-Computations Theorem and the physics of singling out a computation

Shenker, Orly and Hemmo, Meir (2021) The Multiple-Computations Theorem and the physics of singling out a computation. [Preprint]

[img]
Preview
Text
hemmo shenker multiple computations.pdf - Submitted Version

Download (409kB) | Preview

Abstract

The problem of multiple-computations discovered by Hilary Putnam presents a deep difficulty for functionalism (of all sorts, computational and causal). We describe in outline why Putnam’s result, and likewise the more restricted result we call the Multiple-Computations Theorem, are in fact theorems of statistical mechanics. We show why the mere interaction of a computing system with its environment cannot single out a computation as the preferred one amongst the many computations implemented by the system. We explain why non-reductive approaches to solving the multiple-computations problem, and in particular why computational externalism, are dualistic in the sense that they imply that non-physical facts in the environment of a computing system single out the computation. We discuss certain attempts to dissolve Putnam’s unrestricted result by appealing to systems with certain kinds of input and output states, as a special case of computational externalism, and show why this approach is not workable without collapsing to behaviourism. We conclude with some remarks about the non-physical nature of mainstream approaches to both statistical mechanics and the quantum theory of measurement with respect to the singling out of partitions and observables.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Shenker, Orlyorly.shenker@mail.huji.ac.il
Hemmo, Meirmeir@research.haifa.ac.il
Additional Information: Draft, under review in The Monist
Keywords: Computational theoery of mind, indeterminacy of computation, physical computation, Computational neurscience, multiple computations, functionalism, computational functionalism, dualism, externalism, reductive physicalism, identity physicalism, non-reductive physicalism
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Computation
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Orly Shenker
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2021 02:23
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2021 02:23
Item ID: 19479
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Computation
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: July 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19479

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item