Philosophical Studies

, Volume 137, Issue 2, pp 205–241 | Cite as

Computation without Representation

  • Gualtiero PiccininiEmail author


The received view is that computational states are individuated at least in part by their semantic properties. I offer an alternative, according to which computational states are individuated by their functional properties. Functional properties are specified by a mechanistic explanation without appealing to any semantic properties. The primary purpose of this paper is to formulate the alternative view of computational individuation, point out that it supports a robust notion of computational explanation, and defend it on the grounds of how computational states are individuated within computability theory and computer science. A secondary purpose is to show that existing arguments for the semantic view are defective.


Computational State Mechanistic Explanation Semantic Property Semantic View Syntactic Property 
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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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Missouri – St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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