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Computers in Abstraction/Representation Theory

Fletcher, Samuel C. (2018) Computers in Abstraction/Representation Theory. Minds and Machines, 28 (3). pp. 445-463. ISSN 0924-6495

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Recently, Horsman et al. (2014) have proposed a new framework, Abstraction/Representation (AR) theory, for understanding and evaluating claims about unconventional or non-standard computation. Among its attractive features, the theory in particular implies a novel account of what is means to be a computer. After expounding on this account, I compare it with other accounts of concrete computation, finding that it does not quite fit in the standard categorization: while it is most similar to some semantic accounts, it is not itself a semantic account. Then I evaluate it according to the six desiderata for accounts of concrete computation proposed by Piccinini (2015). Finding that it does not clearly satisfy some of them, I propose a modification, which I call Agential AR theory, that does, yielding an account that could be a serious competitor to other leading account of concrete computation.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Fletcher, Samuel C.scfletch@umn.edu0000-0002-9061-8976
Additional Information: This is the postprint version: after final peer review but before copyediting.
Keywords: Concrete computation, Physical computation, Computer, Pancomputationalism, Representation
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Computation
Specific Sciences > Computation/Information
Depositing User: Prof. Samuel C. Fletcher
Date Deposited: 26 May 2020 22:25
Last Modified: 26 May 2020 22:25
Item ID: 17221
Journal or Publication Title: Minds and Machines
Publisher: Springer
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s11023-018-9470-9
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Computation
Specific Sciences > Computation/Information
Date: 8 August 2018
Page Range: pp. 445-463
Volume: 28
Number: 3
ISSN: 0924-6495

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