Piccinini, Gualtiero (2004) Computation Without Representation. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)
According to the received view of computation, there is no computation without representation. In other words, computational states are individuated, at least in part, by their content. I propose an alternative view of computation, according to which computational states are individuated by their functional properties, and their functional properties are specified by a functional analysis of the mechanism independently of their semantic properties. I defend my alternative on the grounds that unlike the received view, my alternative view fits the way the relevant community of experts—namely, computability theorists and computer designers—individuate computational states. I also argue that the two main arguments that have been offered in favor of the received view are unsound. Finally, I briefly point out how my alternative account helps us to better understand the relationship between computational theories of mind and theories of mental content.
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