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.
Author: Marcin Miłkowski
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2013
In this book, Marcin Milkowski argues that the mind can be explained computationally because it is itself computational -- whether it engages in mental arithmetic, parses natural language, or processes the auditory signals that allow us to experience music. Defending the computational explanation against objections to it -- from John Searle and Hilary Putnam in particular -- Milkowski writes that computationalism is here to stay but is not what many have taken it to be. It does not, for example, rely on a Cartesian gulf between software and hardware, or mind and brain. Milkowski's mechanistic construal of computation allows him to show that no purely computational explanation of a physical process will ever be complete. Computationalism is only plausible, he argues, if you also accept explanatory pluralism. Milkowski sketches a mechanistic theory of implementation of computation against a background of extant conceptions, describing four dissimilar computational models of cognition. He reviews other philosophical accounts of implementation and computational explanation and defends a notion of representation that is compatible with his mechanistic account and adequate vis à vis the four models discussed earlier. Instead of arguing that there is no computation without representation, he inverts the slogan and shows that there is no representation without computation -- but explains that representation goes beyond purely computational considerations. Milkowski's arguments succeed in vindicating computational explanation in a novel way by relying on mechanistic theory of science and interventionist theory of causation.
Author: Nir Fresco
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 2013-10-12
This book presents a study of digital computation in contemporary cognitive science. Digital computation is a highly ambiguous concept, as there is no common core definition for it in cognitive science. Since this concept plays a central role in cognitive theory, an adequate cognitive explanation requires an explicit account of digital computation. More specifically, it requires an account of how digital computation is implemented in physical systems. The main challenge is to deliver an account encompassing the multiple types of existing models of computation without ending up in pancomputationalism, that is, the view that every physical system is a digital computing system. This book shows that only two accounts, among the ones examined by the author, are adequate for explaining physical computation. One of them is the instructional information processing account, which is developed here for the first time. "This book provides a thorough and timely analysis of differing accounts of computation while advancing the important role that information plays in understanding computation. Fresco’s two-pronged approach will appeal to philosophically inclined computer scientists who want to better understand common theoretical claims in cognitive science.” Marty J. Wolf, Professor of Computer Science, Bemidji State University “An original and admirably clear discussion of central issues in the foundations of contemporary cognitive science.” Frances Egan, Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Physical oncology has the potential to revolutionize cancer research and treatment. The fundamental rationale behind this approach is that physical processes, such as transport mechanisms for drug molecules within tissue and forces exchanged by cancer cells with tissue, may play an equally important role as biological processes in influencing progression and treatment outcome. This book introduces the emerging field of physical oncology to a general audience, with a focus on recent breakthroughs that help in the design and discovery of more effective cancer treatments. It describes how novel mathematical models of physical transport processes incorporate patient tissue and imaging data routinely produced in the clinic to predict the efficacy of many cancer treatment approaches, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy. By helping to identify which therapies would be most beneficial for an individual patient, and quantifying their effects prior to actual implementation in the clinic, physical oncology allows doctors to design treatment regimens customized to each patient’s clinical needs, significantly altering the current clinical approach to cancer treatment and improving the outcomes for patients.
Author: Stuart Glennan
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Release Date: 2017-07-06
Scientists studying the burning of stars, the evolution of species, DNA, the brain, the economy, and social change, all frequently describe their work as searching for mechanisms. Despite this fact, for much of the twentieth century philosophical discussions of the nature of mechanisms remained outside philosophy of science. The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems, and debates in this exciting subject and is the first collection of its kind. Comprising over thirty chapters by a team of international contributors, the Handbook is divided into four Parts: Historical perspectives on mechanisms The nature of mechanisms Mechanisms and the philosophy of science Disciplinary perspectives on mechanisms. Within these Parts central topics and problems are examined, including the rise of mechanical philosophy in the seventeenth century; what mechanisms are made of and how they are organized; mechanisms and laws and regularities; how mechanisms are discovered and explained; dynamical systems theory; and disciplinary perspectives from physics, chemistry, biology, biomedicine, ecology, neuroscience, and the social sciences. Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of science, the Handbook will also be of interest to those in related fields, such as metaphysics, philosophy of psychology, and history of science.
Author: Michael E. Cuffaro
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2018-05-17
Although computation and the science of physical systems would appear to be unrelated, there are a number of ways in which computational and physical concepts can be brought together in ways that illuminate both. This volume examines fundamental questions which connect scholars from both disciplines: is the universe a computer? Can a universal computing machine simulate every physical process? What is the source of the computational power of quantum computers? Are computational approaches to solving physical problems and paradoxes always fruitful? Contributors from multiple perspectives reflecting the diversity of thought regarding these interconnections address many of the most important developments and debates within this exciting area of research. Both a reference to the state of the art and a valuable and accessible entry to interdisciplinary work, the volume will interest researchers and students working in physics, computer science, and philosophy of science and mathematics.
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2015-09-28
Material Synthesis: Fusing the Physical and the Computational Guest-edited by Achim Menges A new understanding of the material in architecture is fast emerging. Designers are no longer conceiving of the digital realm as separate from the physical world. Instead computation is being regarded as the key interface for material exploration and vice versa. This represents a significant perceptual shift in which the materiality of architecture is no longer seen to be a fixed property and passive receptor of form, but is transformed into an active generator of design and an adaptive agent of architectural performance. In stark contrast to previous linear and mechanistic modes of fabrication and construction, materialisation is now beginning to coexist with design as explorative robotic processes. This represents a radical departure from both the trite modernist emphasis on 'truth to materials' and the dismissal of materials by the previous generation of digital architects. The issue features designers, researchers and thinkers that are at the forefront of exploring new modes of material enquiry and its deep interrelationship with technology, biology and culture. Through their work, which unfolds from multifaceted alliances between the fields of design, engineering and natural sciences, it seeks to trace the emergence of a novel material culture in architecture. Architectural and engineering contributors include: Sean Ahlquist, Martin Bechthold, Philippe Block, Karola Dierichs, Jan Knippers, Achim Menges, Neri Oxman, Steffen Reichert and Tobias Schwinn. Scientific and philosophical perspectives provided by: Mario Carpo, Manuel De Landa, Neil Gershenfeld and Thomas Speck. Features the design research of: Harvard's Material Processes and Systems Group, MIT's Mediated Matter Group and Stuttgart University's Institute for Computational Design.
Author: Wolfgang Domcke
Publisher: World Scientific
Release Date: 2011
The concept of adiabatic electronic potential-energy surfaces, defined by the Born–Oppenheimer approximation, is fundamental to our thinking about chemical processes. Recent computational as well as experimental studies have produced ample evidence that the so-called conical intersections of electronic energy surfaces, predicted by von Neumann and Wigner in 1929, are the rule rather than the exception in polyatomic molecules. It is nowadays increasingly recognized that conical intersections play a key mechanistic role in chemical reaction dynamics. This volume provides an up-to-date overview of the multi-faceted research on the role of conical intersections in photochemistry and photobiology, including basic theoretical concepts, novel computational strategies as well as innovative experiments. The contents and discussions will be of value to advanced students and researchers in photochemistry, molecular spectroscopy and related areas.
Author: Peter Carruthers
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date: 2015
The Centered Mind offers a new view of the nature and causal determinants of both reflective thinking and, more generally, the stream of consciousness. Peter Carruthers argues that conscious thought is always sensory-based, relying on the resources of the working-memory system. This system enables sensory images to be sustained and manipulated through attentional signals directed at midlevel sensory areas of the brain. When abstract conceptualrepresentations are bound into these images, we consciously experience ourselves as making judgments or arriving at decisions. However, our amodal (non-sensory) propositional attitudes are never actually among thecontents of this stream of conscious reflection. Our beliefs, goals, and decisions are only ever active in the background of consciousness, working behind the scenes. They are never themselves conscious.Drawing on extensive knowledge of the scientific literature on working memory and related topics, Carruthers challenges the central assumptions of many philosophers. In addition to arguing that non-sensory propositional attitudes are never conscious, he also shows that theyare never under direct intentional control. Written with his usual clarity and directness, The Centered Mind will be essential reading for all philosophers and cognitive scientists interested in thenature of human thought processes.
Author: Brian Hedden
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date: 2015
Genre: Identity (Philosophical concept)
Brian Hedden defends a radical view about the relationship between rationality, personal identity, and time. On the standard view, personal identity over time plays a central role in thinking about rationality, because there are rational norms for how a person's attitudes and actions at one time should fit with her attitudes and actions at other times. But these norms are problematic. They make what you rationally ought to believe or do depend on facts about yourpast that aren't part of your current perspective on the world, and they make rationality depend on controversial, murky metaphysical facts about what binds different instantaneous snapshots (or'time-slices') into a single person extended in time. Hedden takes a different approach, treating the relationship between different time-slices of the same person as no different from the relationship between different people. On his account, the locus of rationality is the time-slice rather than the temporally extended agent. This impersonal, time-slice-centric approach to rationality yields a unified approach to the rationality of beliefs, preferences, and actions where what rationalitydemands of you is solely determined by your evidence, with no special weight given to your past beliefs or actions.
Computational chemistry is a means of applying theoretical ideas using computers and a set of techniques for investigating chemical problems within which common questions vary from molecular geometry to the physical properties of substances. Theory and Applications of Computational Chemistry: The First Forty Years is a collection of articles on the emergence of computational chemistry. It shows the enormous breadth of theoretical and computational chemistry today and establishes how theory and computation have become increasingly linked as methodologies and technologies have advanced. Written by the pioneers in the field, the book presents historical perspectives and insights into the subject, and addresses new and current methods, as well as problems and applications in theoretical and computational chemistry. Easy to read and packed with personal insights, technical and classical information, this book provides the perfect introduction for graduate students beginning research in this area. It also provides very readable and useful reviews for theoretical chemists. * Written by well-known leading experts * Combines history, personal accounts, and theory to explain much of the field of theoretical and compuational chemistry * Is the perfect introduction to the field
Author: Carl F. Craver
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2007-06-07
Carl Craver investigates what we are doing when we use neuroscience to explain what>'s going on in the brain. When does an explanation succeed and when does it fail? Craver offers explicit standards for successful explanation of the workings of the brain, on the basis of a systematic view about what neuroscientific explanations are: they are descriptions of mechanisms.
Author: Benjamin Eidelson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2015-11-12
Hardly anyone disputes that discrimination can be a grave moral wrong. Yet this consensus masks fundamental disagreements about what makes something discrimination, as well as precisely why (and hence when) acts of discrimination are wrong. Benjamin Eidelson develops systematic answers to those two questions. He claims that discrimination is a form of differential treatment distinguished by its special connection to the differential ascription of some property todifferent people, and goes on to argue that what makes some cases of discrimination intrinsically wrongful is that they manifest an attitude of disrespect for the personhood of those who aredisfavored. He endeavors to specify what this attitude consists in, and to demonstrate how attending to its character can help us to better understand the moral dimensions of different forms of wrongful discrimination. The book concludes with an extended discussion of racial profiling in law enforcement.