A Mechanistic Account
Oxford University Press 2016
New Books in PhilosophyNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in PsychologyNew Books in ScienceNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books in Systems and CyberneticsNew Books Network July 15, 2017 Carrie Figdor
A popular way of thinking about the mind and its relation to physical stuff is in terms of computation. This general information-processing approach to solving the mind-body problem admits of a number of different, often incompatible, elaborations. In Physical Computation: A Mechanistic Account (Oxford University Press, 2016), Gualtiero Piccinini integrates research in mechanistic and psychological explanation, computability theory, and other areas to provide a detailed account of the sense in which some, but not all, physical systems compute, and in which genuine computing systems need not be defined in terms of semantic or representational properties. Piccinini, a professor of philosophy at University of Missouri St. Louis, also argues that the mind is not strongly autonomous from its physical implementation but it is not thereby reduceable to physical mechanisms.