Synthese

, Volume 108, Issue 3, pp 309–333 | Cite as

Does a rock implement every finite-state automaton?

  • David J. Chalmers
Article

Abstract

Hilary Putnam has argued that computational functionalism cannot serve as a foundation for the study of the mind, as every ordinary open physical system implements every finite-state automaton. I argue that Putnam's argument fails, but that it points out the need for a better understanding of the bridge between the theory of computation and the theory of physical systems: the relation of implementation. It also raises questions about the class of automata that can serve as a basis for understanding the mind. I develop an account of implementation, linked to an appropriate class of automata, such that the requirement that a system implement a given automaton places a very strong constraint on the system. This clears the way for computation to play a central role in the analysis of mind.

Keywords

Physical System Strong Constraint Computational Functionalism Open Physical System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Chalmers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyWashington UniversitySt Louis

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