Physical Computation: A Mechanistic Account by Gualtiero PiccininiPhysical Computation: A Mechanistic Account by Gualtiero Piccinini

Physical Computation: A Mechanistic Account

byGualtiero Piccinini

Hardcover | August 2, 2015

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Gualtiero Piccinini articulates and defends a mechanistic account of concrete, or physical, computation. A physical system is a computing system just in case it is a mechanism one of whose functions is to manipulate vehicles based solely on differences between different portions of thevehicles according to a rule defined over the vehicles. Physical Computation discusses previous accounts of computation and argues that the mechanistic account is better. Many kinds of computation are explicated, such as digital vs. analog, serial vs. parallel, neural network computation,program-controlled computation, and more. Piccinini argues that computation does not entail representation or information processing although information processing entails computation. Pancomputationalism, according to which every physical system is computational, is rejected. A modest version ofthe physical Church-Turing thesis, according to which any function that is physically computable is computable by Turing machines, is defended.
Gualtiero Piccinini is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Shortly after his appointment to the position in 2005, he founded Brains, which later became a group blog in the philosophy of mind and related sciences. He received early tenure and promotion in 2010 and early promotion to full professor in 2014. ...
Title:Physical Computation: A Mechanistic AccountFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.07 inPublished:August 2, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199658854

ISBN - 13:9780199658855

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsIntroduction1. Towards an Account of Physical Computation2. Mapping Accounts3. Semantic Accounts4. Pancomputationalism5. From Functional Analysis to Mechanistic Explanation6. The Ontology of Functional Mechanisms7. The Mechanistic Account8. Primitive Components of Computing Mechanisms9. Complex Components of Computing Mechanisms10. Digital Calculators11. Digital Computers12. Analog Computers13. Parallel Computers and Neural Networks14. Information Processing15. The Bold Physical Church-Turing Thesis16. The Modest Physical Church-Turing ThesisEpilogue: The Nature of ComputationAppendix: ComputabilityBibliographyIndex