Does Kripke’s Argument Against Functionalism Undermine the Standard View of What Computers Are?
Kripke’s argument against functionalism extended to physical computers poses a deep philosophical problem (not previously addressed in the literature) for understanding the standard view of what computers are. The problem puts into jeopardy the definition in the standard view that computers are physical machines for performing physical computations. Indeed, it is entirely possible that, unless this philosophical problem is resolved, we will never have a good understanding of computers and may never know just what they are.
KeywordsPhysical computation Computer Functionalism Physical realization Underdetermination argument Triviality argument Weak and strong skepticism Physical computation relativism
- Buechner, J. (2011). Not even computing machines can follow rules: Kripke’s critique of functionalism. In A. Berger (Ed.), Saul Kripke. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Dean, W. (2007). What algorithms could not be. Ph.D. dissertation. Rutgers University.Google Scholar
- Haken, W., & Appel, K. (1977). Every planar map is four colorable. Illinois Journal of Mathematics. 84, Parts I and II, Supplements I and II.Google Scholar
- Kripke, S. (1982). Wittgenstein on rules and private language. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Parfit, D. (1984). Reasons and persons. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Scott, D., & Strachey, C. (1971). Toward a mathematical semantics for computer languages. In J. Fox (Ed.), Proceedings of the symposium on computers and automata (pp. 19–46). Brooklyn: Polytechnic Press.Google Scholar
- Sedgewick, R., & Wayne, K. (2017). Computer science: An interdisciplinary approach. London: Pearson.Google Scholar
- Turing, A. (1936–1937). On computable numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem. Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society, 42, 230–265.Google Scholar
- vanBenthem, J. (1995). Logic and the flow of information. In D. Prawitz (Ed.), Logic, methodology, and philosophy of science IX (pp. 693–724). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar