How can the computational task be performed? What is the representation of the input and output? And what is the algorithm for the transformation? The focus is on the formal features of the representation———which are required to develop an algorithm in a programming language —rather than on whether the inputs really represent anything. The algorithm is correct when it performs the specified task, given the same input as the computational system in question. The distinction between the computational level and the level of representation and algorithm amounts to the difference between what and how Marr , The level of hardware implementation refers to the physical machinery realizing the computation; in neuroscience, of course, this will be the brain.
There are multiple realizations of a given task see Mind and Multiple Realizability , so Marr endorses the classical functionalist claim of relative autonomy of levels, which is supposed to underwrite antireductionism Fodor Although Marr introduces more constraints than Cummins, because he requires the description of three different levels of realization, his theory also suffers from the abovementioned problems.
That is, it does not require the causal relevance of the algorithm and representation level; sufficiency is all that is required. Moreover, it remains relatively unclear why exactly there are three, and not, say, five levels in the proper explanation note that some philosophers proposed the introduction of intermediary levels. According to mechanism, to explain a phenomenon is to explain its underlying mechanism. Mechanistic explanation is a species of causal explanation, and explaining a mechanism involves the discovery of its causal structure.
While mechanisms are defined variously, the core idea is that they are organized systems, comprising causally relevant component parts and operations or activities thereof Bechtel ; Craver ; Glennan ; Machamer, Darden, and Craver Parts of the mechanism interact and their orchestrated operation contributes to the capacity of the mechanism.
Mechanistic explanations abound in special sciences, and it is hoped that an adequate description of the principles implied in explanations those that are generally accepted as sound will also furnish researchers with normative guidance. It is closely linked to causal accounts of computational explanation, too Chalmers Constitutive mechanistic explanation is the dominant form of computational explanation in cognitive science. This kind of explanation includes at least three levels of mechanism: In contrast to how Marr or Dennett understand them, levels here are not just levels of abstraction; they are levels of composition.
They are tightly integrated, but not entirely reducible to the lowest level. Computational models explain how the computational capacity of a mechanism is generated by the orchestrated operation of its component parts. To say that a mechanism implements a computation is to claim that the causal organization of the mechanism is such that the input and output information streams are causally linked and that this link, along with the specific structure of information processing, is completely described.
Note that the link is sometimes cyclical and can be very complex. In some respects, the mechanistic account of computational explanation may be viewed as a causally-constrained version of functional explanation. Developments in the theory of mechanistic explanation, which is now one of the most active fields in the philosophy of science, make it, however, much more sensitive to the actual scientific practice of modelers. One of the most difficult questions for proponents of CTM is how to determine whether a given physical system is an implementation of a formal computation.
Note that computer science does not offer any theory of implementation, and the intuitive view that one can decide whether a system implements a computation by finding a one-to-one correspondence between physical states and the states of a computation may lead to serious problems. In what follows, I will sketch out some objections to the objectivity of the notion of computation, formulated by John Searle and Hilary Putnam, and examine various answers to their objections.
There is nothing objective about physical computation; computation is ascribed to physical systems by human observers merely for convenience. For this reason, there are no genuine computational explanations. Needless to say, such an objection invalidates most research that has been done in cognitive science. In particular, Putnam , — has constructed a proof that any open physical system implements any finite automaton which is a model of computation that has lower computational power than a Turing machine; note that the proof can be easily extended to Turing machines as well.
The idea of the proof is as follows. Any physical system has at least one state. This state obtains for some time, and the duration can be measured by an external clock. By an appeal to the clock, one can identify as many states as one wishes, especially if the states can be constructed by set-theoretic operations or their logical equivalent, which is the disjunction operator.
For this reason, one can always find as many states in the physical system as the finite machine requires it has, after all, a finite number of states. Also, its evolution in time may be easily mapped onto a physical system thanks to disjunctions and the clock. For this reason, there is nothing explanatory about the notion of computation. He argues that being a digital computer is a matter of ascribing 0s and 1s to a physical system, and that for any program and any sufficiently complex object there is a description of the object under which it realizes the program Searle , — On this view, even an ordinary wall would be a computer.
In essence, both objections are similar in making the point that given enough freedom, one can always map physical states —whose number can be adjusted by logical means or by simply making more measurements —to the formal system. As the arguments are similar, the replies to these objections usually address both at the same time, and try to limit the admissible ways of carving physical reality.
The view is that somehow reality should be carved at its joints, and then made to correspond with the formal model. The semantic account of implementation is by far the most popular among philosophers. It simply requires that there is no computation without representation Fodor But the semantic account seems to beg the question, given that some computational models require no representation, notably in connectionism.
For this reason, at least in this debate, one can only assume that programs represent just because they are ascribed meaning by external observers. But in such a case, the observer may just as easily ascribe meaning to a wall. Thus, the semantic account has no resources to deal with these objections. I do not meant to suggest that the semantic account is completely wrong; indeed, the intuitive appeal of CTM is based on its close links with RTM. For example, it seems that an ordinary logical gate the computational entity that corresponds to a logical connective , for example an AND gate, does not represent anything.
At least, it does not seem to refer to anything. Yet it is a simple computational device. The causal account requires that the physical states taken to correspond to the mathematical description of computation are causally linked Chalmers This means that there have to be counterfactual dependencies to satisfy this requirement has been proposed by Copeland , but without requiring that the states be causally relevant and that the methodological principles of causal explanations have to be followed.
They include theoretical parsimony used already by Fodor in his constraints of his semantic account of computation and the causal Markov condition. There are two open questions for the causal account, however. First, for any causal system, there will be a corresponding computational description. This means that even if it is no longer true that all physical systems implement all possible computations, they still implement at least one computation if there are multiple causal models of a given system, the number of corresponding computations of course grows.
The second question is how the boundaries of causal systems are to be drawn.
This seems absurd, but there is no explicit reply to this problem in the causal account. The first move made by both is to take into account only functional mechanisms, which excludes weak pancomputationalisms. The requirement that the systems should have the function —in some robust sense —of computing has also been defended by other authors, compare Lycan ; Sterelny Another is to argue that computational systems should be understood as multi-level systems, which fits naturally with the mechanistic account of computational explanation.
Note that mechanists in the philosophy of science have already faced the difficult question of how to draw a boundary around systems, for example by including only components constitutively relevant to the capacity of the mechanism; compare Craver For this reason, the mechanistic account is supposed to deliver a satisfactory approach to delineating computational mechanisms from their environment. Another specific feature of the mechanistic account of computation is that it makes clear how the formal account of computation corresponds to the physical mechanism. Namely, the isolated level of the mechanism level 0, see section 2.
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The description of the model usually comprises two parts: What is clear from this discussion is that implementation is not a matter of any simple mapping but of satisfying a number of additional constraints usually required by causal modeling in science. The objection discussed in section 3 is by no means the only objection discussed in philosophy, but it is special because of its potential to completely trivialize CTM. The debate over this thought experiment is, at best, inconclusive, so it does not show that CTM is doomed for more discussion on Chinese Room, see also Preston and Bishop Similarly, all arguments that purport to show that artificial intelligence AI is in principle impossible seem to be equally unconvincing, even if they were cogent at some point in time when related to some domains of human competence for example, for a long time it has been thought that decent machine translation is impossible; it has been even argued that funding research into machine speech recognition is morally wrong, compare Weizenbaum , One group of objections against CTM focuses on its alleged reliance on the claim that cognition should be explained merely in terms of computation.
This motivates, for example, claims that CTM ignores emotional or bodily processes see Embodied Cognition. Such claims are, however, unsubstantiated: Furthermore, according to the most successful theories of implementation, both causal and mechanistic, a physical computation always has properties that are over and above its computational features. It is these physical features that make this computation possible in the first place, and ignoring them for example, ignoring the physical constitution of neurons simply leaves the implementation unexplained.
For this reason, it seems quite clear that CTM cannot really involve a rejection of all other explanations; the causal relevance of computation implies causal relevance of other physical features, which means that embodied cognition is implied by CTM, rather than excluded. Jerry Fodor has argued that it is central cognition that cannot be explained computationally, in particular in the symbolic way and that no other explanation is forthcoming.
This claim seems to fly in the face of the success of production systems in such domains as reasoning and problem solving. Arguments against the possibility of a computational account of common sense Dreyfus also appeal to Holism. Some also claim that it leads to the frame problem in AI, though this has been debated; while the meaning of the frame problem for CTM is unclear Pylyshyn ; Shanahan ; Shanahan and Baars A specific group of arguments against CTM is directed against the claim that cognition is digital effective computation: These arguments are not satisfactory because they assume without justification that human beliefs are not contradictory Putnam ; Krajewski Even if they are genuinely contradictory, the claim that the mind is not a computational mechanism cannot be proven this way, as Krajewski has argued, showing that the proof leads to a contradiction.
The Computational Theory of Mind CTM is the working assumption of the vast majority of modeling efforts in cognitive science, though there are important differences among various computational accounts of mental processes. With the growing sophistication of modeling and testing techniques, computational neuroscience offers more and more refined versions of CTM, which are more complex than early attempts to model mind as a single computational device such as a Turing machine.
What is much more plausible, at least biologically, is a complex organization of various computational mechanisms, some permanent and some ephemeral, in a structure that does not form a strict hierarchy. The general agreement in cognitive science is, however, that the generic claim that minds process information, even if it is an empirical hypothesis that might prove wrong, is highly unlikely to turn out false. Yet it is far from clear what kind of processing is involved.
Taken individually, Hume gives novel insights into many aspects of revealed and natural theology. When taken together, however, they provide his attempt at a systematic undermining of the justifications for religion. Religious belief is often defended through revealed theology, natural theology, or pragmatic advantage. He gives a sweeping argument that we are never justified in believing testimony that a miracle has occurred, because the evidence for uniform laws of nature will always be stronger. If correct, this claim would undermine the veracity of any sacred text, such as the Bible, which testifies to miracles and relies on them as its guarantor of truth.
As such, Hume rejects the truth of any revealed religion, and further shows that, when corrupted with inappropriate passions, religion has harmful consequences to both morality and society. Further, he argues, rational arguments cannot lead us to a deity. Hume develops what are now standard objections to the analogical design argument by insisting that the analogy is drawn only from limited experience, making it impossible to conclude that a cosmic designer is infinite, morally just, or a single being. Nor can we use such depictions to inform other aspects of the world, such as whether there is a dessert-based afterlife.
Lastly, Hume is one of the first philosophers to systematically explore religion as a natural phenomenon, suggesting how religious belief can arise from natural, rather that supernatural means. Hume is one of the most important philosophers to have written in the English language, and many of his writings address religious subjects either directly or indirectly.
His very first work had the charge of atheism leveled against it, and this led to his being passed over for the Chair of Moral Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. He leveled moral, skeptical, and pragmatic objections against both popular religion and the religion of the philosophers. These run the gamut from highly specific topics, such as metaphysical absurdities entailed by the Real Presence of the Eucharist, to broad critiques like the impossibility of using theology to infer anything about the world.
Hume wrote the Natural History roughly in tandem with the first draft of the Dialogues , but while the former was published during his lifetime as one of his Four Dissertations , the latter was not. In the introduction to the Natural History , Hume posits that there are two types of inquiry to be made into religion: While the Dialogues investigate the former, the task of the Natural History is to explore the latter. In the Natural History , he focuses on how various passions can give rise to common or false religion.
It is an innovative work that brings together threads from philosophy, psychology, and history to provide a naturalistic account of how the various world religions came about. Though Hume began writing the Dialogues at roughly the same time as the Natural History , he ultimately arranged to have the former published posthumously. In the twenty-five years between the time at which he first wrote them and his death, the Dialogues underwent three sets of revisions, including a final revision from his deathbed.
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The Dialogues are a rich discussion of Natural Theology , and are generally considered to be the most important book ever written on the subject. Divided into twelve parts, the Dialogues follow the discussion of three thinkers debating the nature of God.
Die bessere Logistik
The work is narrated by Pamphilus, a professed student of Cleanthes. In the Dialogues , all the characters make good Humean points, even Pamphilus and Demea. The difficulty comes in determining who speaks for Hume when the characters disagree. The most popular view, though not without dissent, construes Hume as Philo. Philo certainly has the most to say in the Dialogues. His arguments and objections often go unanswered, and he espouses many opinions on both religion and on other philosophical topics that Hume endorses in other works, such as the hypothesis that causal inference is based on custom.
Given the comprehensive critique that Hume levels against religion, it is clear that he is not a theist in any traditional sense. There remain three positions open to Hume: The first position has Hume denying any form of supernaturalism, and is much more popular outside of Hume scholarship than within. It has him making a firm metaphysical commitment by allowing an inference from our having no good reason for thinking that there are supernatural entities, to a positive commitment that in fact there are none. These considerations against a full-fledged atheist position motivate the skeptical view.
While atheism saddles Hume with too strong a metaphysical commitment, the skeptical view also holds that he does not affirm the existence of any supernatural entities. This view has Hume doubting the existence of supernatural entities, but still allowing their possibility. It has the advantage of committing Hume to the sparse ontology of the naturalist without actually committing him to potentially dogmatic metaphysical positions. Hence, Hume can be an atheist for all intents and purposes without actually violating his own epistemic principles.
Many scholars tend to steer clear of the former for several reasons. First, while it was true that, early in his career, Hume edited his work to avoid giving offense, this was not the case later. For example, Hume excised the miracles argument from the Treatise , but it later found its way into print in the Enquiry. Second, Hume arranged to have the Dialogues published after his death, and therefore had no reason to fear repercussions for himself. Further, Hume did not seem to think that the content would bring grief to his nephew who brought it to publication, as he revealed in a letter to his publisher L2, Appendix M.
Third, it is not only in the Dialogues that we get endorsements of a deity or of a design argument. Lastly, it is generally considered hermeneutically appropriate to invoke disingenuousness only if an alternative interpretation cannot be plausibly endorsed. Norman Kemp Smith, in his commentary on the Dialogues , argues in favor of just such an alternative interpretation.
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Though he interprets Hume as Philo, he has the Reversal as insincerely made, not from fear, but as a dialectical tool. In his Ciceronian dialogue, Hume does not want the reader, upon finishing the piece, to interpret any of the characters as victorious, instead encouraging them to reflect further upon these matters. We should instead look for reasons to take the Reversal as genuine. There is, therefore, support for interpreting Hume as a deist of a limited sort. However, scholars that attribute weak deism to Hume are split in regard to the source of the belief. Hence, Hume does not reject all design arguments, and , provided that the analogs are properly qualified, might allow the inference.
This is different than the picture suggested by Butler and discussed by Pike in which the belief is provided by a natural, non-rational faculty and thereby simply strikes us, rather than as the product of an inferential argument. Therefore, though the defenders of a deistic Hume generally agree about the remote, non-moral nature of the deity, there is a fundamental schism regarding the justification and generation of this belief. Both sides, however, agree that the belief should not come from special revelation, such as miracles or revealed texts.
The section is divided into two parts. While Part I provides an argument against believing in miracles in general, Part II gives four specific considerations against miracles based on particular facts about the world. Though the Evidential Arguments are fairly straightforward in and of themselves, there are two major interpretive puzzles: Some see the two parts as entirely separable, while others insist that they provide two parts of a cohesive whole. The following reconstructions attempt to stay interpretively neutral on these disputes.
Hume begins Part I with rules for the appropriate proportioning of belief. First, he divides arguments that justify beliefs regarding cause and effect into proofs and probabilities. Proofs are arguments supported by evidence in which the effects have been constant, such as the sun rising every day. A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined.
In a letter to Blair, Hume indicates that, as an empirical fact, miracles always have religious content: A Humean miracle is, therefore, a violation of a law of nature whose cause is an agent outside of nature, though the incompatibility with a law of nature is all that the Categorical Argument requires. Laws, therefore, admit of no empirical counterexamples. Secondly, laws of nature are matters of fact, not relations of ideas, as their denial is always coherent. Indeed, like any other matter of fact, they must have some empirical content.
There must, therefore, be a uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise the event would not merit that appellation. And as the uniform experience amounts to a proof, then there is here a direct and full proof , from the nature of the fact, against the existence of any miracle; nor can such a proof be destroyed, or the miracle rendered credible, but by an opposite proof, which is superior….
The interpretation of this passage requires considerable care. Call this the Caricature Argument. The Caricature Argument faces three major obstacles, two of which are insurmountable. However, considering the inaccuracies of the Caricature Argument will help us to arrive at a more accurate reconstruction. First, the Caricature Argument is an a priori , deductive argument from definition.
This would make it a demonstration in Hume's vernacular, not a proof. Nonetheless, both the argument of Section X and the letter in which he elucidates it repeatedly appeal to the evidence against miracles as constituting a proof. If the Caricature Argument were correct, then the argument against miracles could not be labeled as such. A second, related problem is that, if one accepts the Caricature Argument, then one must accept the entailed modality. From the conclusion of the a priori deductive argument, it follows that the occurrence of a miracle would be impossible.
If this were the case, then no testimony could persuade a person to believe in the existence of a miracle. However, many take Hume to implicitly reject such an assumption. Therefore, there are hypothetical situations in which our belief in a miracle could be established by testimony, implying that the conclusion of the Caricature Argument is too strong. This reply, however, is incorrect. However, we must note that the passage that immediately precedes the example contains an ambiguous disjunct: From this passage alone, it is not clear whether Hume means for the darkness scenario to count as an example of the former, the latter, or both.
For instance, the absence of the sun during 48 hours; but reasonable men would only conclude from this fact, that the machine of the globe was disordered during this time. The conclusion Hume draws is that, even if testimony of a strange event were to amount to a full proof, it would be more reasonable to infer a hiccup in the natural regularity of things on par with an eclipse, where apparent, but not the disturbance of a higher level regularity , rather than to conclude a miracle.
It is the business of history to distinguish between the miraculous and the marvelous ; to reject the first in all narrations merely profane and human; to doubt the second; and when obliged by unquestionable testimony…to admit of something extraordinary, to receive as little of it as is consistent with the known facts and circumstances. He therefore never grants a proof of a miracle as a real possibility, so the Caricature Argument may surmount at least this objection.
However, a final difficulty related to the modality of the conclusion concerns the observation that Hume couches his argument in terms of appropriate belief. This gives us reason to reject the metaphysical conclusion of the Caricature Argument. Hume does not say that violations are impossible, only unknowable. Of course, it could be that Hume grants this merely for the sake of argument, but then the stronger conclusion would still have a problem. For whether or not Hume grants the occurrence of miracles, he certainly allows for their conceivability , something the Caricature Argument cannot allow since, for Hume, conceivability implies possibility.
Finally, there is the fact that Part II exists at all. The proper conclusion is, therefore, the epistemic one. In overcoming the weaknesses of the Caricature Argument, a more plausible Humean argument takes form. There is much to be said for this reconstruction. First, in addition to Humean axioms, we have empirical premises rather than definitions that support the key inferences. Hence, the reconstruction is a proof, not a demonstration. Second, given that Hume has ancillary arguments for these empirical premises, there is no question-begging of the form that the Caricature Argument suggests.
However, there is a separate worry of question-begging in 4 that needs to be addressed before moving on to the arguments of Part II. However, there are people that do testify to miracles. The worry is that, in assigning existence to laws of nature without testimonial exception, Hume may beg the question against those that maintain the occurrence of miracles. This worry can be overcome, however, if we follow Don Garrett in realizing what Hume is attempting to establish in the argument:.
This is, of course, compatible with there actually being exceptions to it, so long as one of those exceptions has, for the judger, the status of experiments within his or her experience. To believe in a miracle, the witness must believe that a law of nature has been violated. However, this means that, in endorsing the occurrence of the miracle, the witness implicitly endorses two propositions: Thus, in order for a witness to convince me of a miracle, we must first agree that there is a law in place.
The same testimony which seeks to establish the miracle reaffirms the nomological status of the law as universally believed. This leads to the second point that Garrett raises. Only after this common ground is established do we consider, as an experiment , whether we should believe that the said law has been violated. Hence, even such a testimonial does not count against the universality of what we, the judges, take to be a law of nature.
Instead, we are setting it aside as experimental in determining whether we should offer assent to the purported law or not. If this is right, then 4 does not beg the question. This leaves us with empirical premise 5 , which leads to Part II. He then gives four considerations as to why this is the case, three of which are relatively straightforward.
To be persuaded of a miracle, we would need to be sure that no natural explanation, such as delusion, deception, and so forth, was more likely than the miraculous, a task which, for Hume, would simply take more credible witnesses than have ever attested to a miracle. Second, it is a fact of human nature that we find surprise and wonder agreeable. We want to believe in the miraculous, and we are much more likely to pass along stories of the miraculous than of the mundane. For Hume, this explains why humans tend to be more credulous with attested miracles than should reasonably be the case, and also explains why the phenomenon is so widespread.
His third, related presumption against miracles is that testimony of their occurrence tends to be inversely proportionate to education: Miracles are used as placeholders when we lack the knowledge of natural causes. However, as learning progresses, we become increasingly able to discover natural causes, and no longer need to postulate miraculous explanations. Every miracle, therefore, pretended to have wrought in any of these religions…as its direct scope is to establish the particular system to which it is attributed; so has it the same force, though more indirectly, to overthrow every other system.
In destroying a rival system, it likewise destroys the credit of those miracles, on which that system was established; so that all the [miracles] of different religions are to be regarded as contrary facts, and evidence of these…as opposite to each other. His general idea is that, since multiple, incompatible religions testify to miracles, they cancel each other out in some way, but scholars disagree as to how this is supposed to happen.
Interpreters such as Gaskin Therefore, a miracle wrought by Jesus is opposed and negated by one wrought by Mohammed, and so forth. However, as both Gaskin and Yandell point out, this inference would be flawed, because miracles are rarely such that they entail accepting one religion exclusively. Put another way, the majority of miracles can be interpreted and accepted by most any religion. As the rest of the section centers around appropriate levels of doxastic assent, we should think that the notion is at play here too.
A less problematic reconstruction therefore has his fourth consideration capturing something like the following intuition: In the case of their own religion, their level of incredulity is sufficiently low so as to accept their own purported miracles. However, when they turn to those attested by other religions, they raise their level of incredulity so as to deny these miracles of other faiths. Thus, by participating in a sect that rejects at least some miracles, they thereby undermine their own position.
In claiming sufficient grounds for rejecting the miracles of the other sects, they have thereby rejected their own. For Hume, the sectarians cannot have their cake and eat it. Intellectual honesty requires a consistent level of credulity. Thus, the problem for Hume is not that the sectarians cannot interpret all purported miracles as their own but that they, in fact, do not. These are the four evidential considerations against miracles Hume provides in Part II. However, if the above reconstruction of Part I is correct, and Hume thinks that the Categorical Argument has established that we are never justified in believing the testimony of miracles, we might wonder why Part II exists at all.
Its presence can be justified in several ways. First, on the reconstruction above, Part II significantly bolsters premise 5. Second, even if Part II were logically superfluous, Michael Levine rightly points out that the arguments of Part II can still have a buttressing effect for persuading the reader to the conclusion of Part I, thereby softening the blow of its apparently severe conclusion.
A third, related reason is a rhetorical consideration. As Hume himself acknowledges, resting one part of his system on another would unnecessarily weaken it T 1. Therefore, the more reasons he can present, the better. Fourth, Hume, as a participant in many social circles, is likely to have debated miracles in many ways against many opponents, each with his or her own favored example.
Part II, therefore, gives him the opportunity for more direct and specific redress, and he does indeed address many specific miracles there. Finally, the considerations of Part II, the second and third especially, have an important explanatory effect. They deal with all aspects of Swiss law throughout six cantons to make your expat life simple. Hi, I wanted to ask if anybody knows if it is possible for me, an argentinian, to live in Swiss with my Italian wife, and to look….
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