Minds and Machines

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 183–190

Computationalism: Still the Only Game in Town

A Reply to Swiatczak’s “Conscious Representations: An Intractable Problem for the Computational Theory of Mind”


Mental representations, Swiatczak (Minds Mach 21:19–32, 2011) argues, are fundamentally biochemical and their operations depend on consciousness; hence the computational theory of mind, based as it is on multiple realisability and purely syntactic operations, must be wrong. Swiatczak, however, is mistaken. Computation, properly understood, can afford descriptions/explanations of any physical process, and since Swiatczak accepts that consciousness has a physical basis, his argument against computationalism must fail. Of course, we may not have much idea how consciousness (itself a rather unclear plurality of notions) might be implemented, but we do have a hypothesis—that all of our mental life, including consciousness, is the result of computational processes and so not tied to a biochemical substrate. Like it or not, the computational theory of mind remains the only game in town.


Computational theory of mind Computationalism Consciousness Computation Mental representation 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computer Engineering DepartmentBilkent UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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