Computation and Multiple Realizability

In Vincent Müller (ed.), Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence. Springer. pp. 29-41 (2016)
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Abstract

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 to pin down exactly. I claim that MR is of little importance for defending computationalism, and argue that it should rather appeal to organizational invariance or substrate neutrality of computation, which are much more intuitive but cannot support strong antireductionist arguments.

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Marcin Miłkowski
Polish Academy of Sciences

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