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Physical ComputationA Mechanistic Account$
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Gualtiero Piccinini

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199658855

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658855.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 December 2021

Pancomputationalism

Pancomputationalism

Chapter:
(p.51) 4 Pancomputationalism
Source:
Physical Computation
Author(s):

Gualtiero Piccinini

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658855.003.0005

According to pancomputationalism, everything is a computing system. Alleged sources of pancomputationalism are listed. This chapter distinguishes between different varieties of pancomputationalism and discusses arguments for the different varieties. Versions of ontic pancomputationalism, according to which the Universe is a computing system, are described in relation to platonism and Pythagoreanism, and are rejected. A more explicit and precise taxonomy of legitimate senses in which something may be described computationally is provided. This chapter finds that although some varieties are more plausible than others, only the most trivial and uninteresting varieties are true. As a side effect of this exercise, the chapter sharpens the distinction between computational modeling and computational explanation.

Keywords:   pancomputationalism, computational modeling, computational explanation, cellular automata, Platonism, Pythagoreanism

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