Physical Computation: A Mechanistic Account

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9780199658855: Physical Computation: A Mechanistic Account

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 the vehicles 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 of the physical Church-Turing thesis, according to which any function that is physically computable is computable by Turing machines, is defended.

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About the Author:


Gualtiero Piccinini, University of Missouri, St. Louis

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. Between 2001 and 2014 he was department chair. In 2014, he received the Herbert A. Simon Award from the International Association for Computing and Philosophy for his research in the philosophy of computation.

Review:


"The arguments are clear and meticulous, and the writing style is crisp. Piccinini does an admirable job at guiding readers through the different steps of his account...Physical Computation makes important contributions to foundational issues in several fields. It is a pellucid example of how good philosophical work can advance wide ranging debates at the crossroads of computer science, AI, cognitive science and philosophy. Physical Computation should be read by anybody interested in mind, machines, and the sciences of computation." -- Minds and Machines


"It provides a thorough...introduction to the philosophical issues associated with computation in the physical sense and would serve as a good basis for a postgraduate or upper-level undergraduate course on the subject. Piccinini delivers a comprehensive summary of previous work on physical computation, alongside the definitive presentation of his mechanistic account, and I have no doubt that this book will become a valuable resource for future work on the topic." -- Philosophical Psychology


"Piccinini's discussion is a notable contribution that offers a bounty of insights into computation and computing practice. All philosophers interested in computation must read this highly informative and thought-provoking book." --British Journal for the Philosophy of Science


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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 the vehicles 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 of the physical Church-Turing thesis, according to which any function that is physically computable is computable by Turing machines, is defended. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9780199658855

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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 the vehicles 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 of the physical Church-Turing thesis, according to which any function that is physically computable is computable by Turing machines, is defended. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9780199658855

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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2015. Book Condition: New. Computation permeates our world, but a satisfactory philosophical theory of what it is has been lacking. Gualtiero Piccinini presents a mechanistic account of what makes a physical system a computing system. He argues that computation does not entail representation or information-processing, although information-processing entails computation. Num Pages: 336 pages. BIC Classification: PBB; PBC; UY. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 167 x 242 x 26. Weight in Grams: 652. . 2015. 1st Edition. Hardcover. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780199658855

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Book Description Oxford University Press. Book Condition: New. Computation permeates our world, but a satisfactory philosophical theory of what it is has been lacking. Gualtiero Piccinini presents a mechanistic account of what makes a physical system a computing system. He argues that computation does not entail representation or information-processing, although information-processing entails computation. Num Pages: 336 pages. BIC Classification: PBB; PBC; UY. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 167 x 242 x 26. Weight in Grams: 652. . 2015. 1st Edition. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780199658855

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