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  1. Computational Mechanisms and Models of Computation.Marcin Miłkowski - 2014 - Philosophia Scientae 18:215-228.
    In most accounts of realization of computational processes by physical mechanisms, it is presupposed that there is one-to-one correspondence between the causally active states of the physical process and the states of the computation. Yet such proposals either stipulate that only one model of computation is implemented, or they do not reflect upon the variety of models that could be implemented physically. In this paper, I claim that mechanistic accounts of computation should allow for a broad variation of models of (...)
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  • Why Think That the Brain is Not a Computer?Marcin Miłkowski - 2016 - APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers 16 (2):22-28.
    In this paper, I review the objections against the claim that brains are computers, or, to be precise, information-processing mechanisms. By showing that practically all the popular objections are either based on uncharitable interpretation of the claim, or simply wrong, I argue that the claim is likely to be true, relevant to contemporary cognitive (neuro)science, and non-trivial.
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  • From Computer Metaphor to Computational Modeling: The Evolution of Computationalism.Marcin Miłkowski - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (3):515-541.
    In this paper, I argue that computationalism is a progressive research tradition. Its metaphysical assumptions are that nervous systems are computational, and that information processing is necessary for cognition to occur. First, the primary reasons why information processing should explain cognition are reviewed. Then I argue that early formulations of these reasons are outdated. However, by relying on the mechanistic account of physical computation, they can be recast in a compelling way. Next, I contrast two computational models of working memory (...)
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  • Morphological Computation: Nothing but Physical Computation.Marcin Miłkowski - 2018 - Entropy 10 (20):942.
    The purpose of this paper is to argue against the claim that morphological computation is substantially different from other kinds of physical computation. I show that some (but not all) purported cases of morphological computation do not count as specifically computational, and that those that do are solely physical computational systems. These latter cases are not, however, specific enough: all computational systems, not only morphological ones, may (and sometimes should) be studied in various ways, including their energy efficiency, cost, reliability, (...)
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  • Computation and Multiple Realizability.Marcin Miłkowski - 2016 - In Vincent Müller (ed.), Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence. Springer. pp. 29-41.
    Multiple realizability (MR) is traditionally conceived of as the feature of computational systems, and has been used to argue for irreducibility of higher-level theories. I will show that there are several ways a computational system may be seen to display MR. These ways correspond to (at least) five ways one can conceive of the function of the physical computational system. However, they do not match common intuitions about MR. I show that MR is deeply interest-related, and for this reason, difficult (...)
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  • One Mechanism, Many Models: A Distributed Theory of Mechanistic Explanation.Eric Hochstein - 2016 - Synthese 193 (5):1387-1407.
    There have been recent disagreements in the philosophy of neuroscience regarding which sorts of scientific models provide mechanistic explanations, and which do not. These disagreements often hinge on two commonly adopted, but conflicting, ways of understanding mechanistic explanations: what I call the “representation-as” account, and the “representation-of” account. In this paper, I argue that neither account does justice to neuroscientific practice. In their place, I offer a new alternative that can defuse some of these disagreements. I argue that individual models (...)
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  • Explanatory Completeness and Idealization in Large Brain Simulations: A Mechanistic Perspective.Marcin Miłkowski - 2016 - Synthese 193 (5):1457-1478.
    The claim defended in the paper is that the mechanistic account of explanation can easily embrace idealization in big-scale brain simulations, and that only causally relevant detail should be present in explanatory models. The claim is illustrated with two methodologically different models: Blue Brain, used for particular simulations of the cortical column in hybrid models, and Eliasmith’s SPAUN model that is both biologically realistic and able to explain eight different tasks. By drawing on the mechanistic theory of computational explanation, I (...)
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  • The Scope and Limits of a Mechanistic View of Computational Explanation.Maria Serban - 2015 - Synthese 192 (10):3371-3396.
    An increasing number of philosophers have promoted the idea that mechanism provides a fruitful framework for thinking about the explanatory contributions of computational approaches in cognitive neuroscience. For instance, Piccinini and Bahar :453–488, 2013) have recently argued that neural computation constitutes a sui generis category of physical computation which can play a genuine explanatory role in the context of investigating neural and cognitive processes. The core of their proposal is to conceive of computational explanations in cognitive neuroscience as a subspecies (...)
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  • The Enactive Automaton as a Computing Mechanism.Joe Dewhurst & Mario Villalobos - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):185-192.
    Varela, Thompson, and Rosch illustrated their original presentation of the enactive theory of cognition with the example of a simple cellular automaton. Their theory was paradigmatically anti-computational, and yet automata similar to the one that they describe have typically been used to illustrate theories of computation, and are usually treated as abstract computational systems. Their use of this example is therefore puzzling, especially as they do not seem to acknowledge the discrepancy. The solution to this tension lies in recognizing a (...)
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