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How (and Why) to Think that the Brain is Literally a Computer

Maley, Corey J. (2022) How (and Why) to Think that the Brain is Literally a Computer. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The relationship between brains and computers is often taken to be merely metaphorical. However, genuine computational systems can be implemented in virtually any media; thus, one can take seriously the view that brains literally compute. But without empirical criteria for what makes a physical system genuinely a computational one, computation remains a matter of perspective, especially for natural systems (e.g., brains) that were not explicitly designed and engineered to be computers. Considerations from real examples of physical computers—both analog and digital, contemporary and historical—make clear what those empirical criteria must be. Finally, applying those criteria to the brain shows how we can view the brain as a computer (probably an analog one at that), which, in turn, illuminates how that claim is both informative and falsifiable.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Maley, Corey J.cmaley@ku.edu0000-0001-6221-3181
Keywords: computation analog
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Computation
Specific Sciences > Computer Science
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
Depositing User: Dr. Corey Maley
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2022 01:57
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2022 01:57
Item ID: 21087
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.3389/fcomp.2022.970396
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Computation
Specific Sciences > Computer Science
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
Date: 23 August 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21087

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