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Questions tagged [computation]

Computational theory is the study of calculations. Important questions are: what can be computed? How quickly can it be computed? What requirements or abilities must a computer have?

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Is it possible to mathematically define a hypercomputer-universe where things that could not be computed by it could exist? [duplicate]

There are a few physicists that propose that the universe is a hypercomputer. One example is Roger Penrose, who, basing in his quantum interpretation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
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Can hypercomputation compute the impossible?

There are things which are illogical/logically impossible (like saying that 2+2=4 and 2+2=5. Without changing anything in the axioms of mathematics or logic, this would be a contradiction and would be ...
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If we live in a simulated world, doesn't there have to be a first world that's real?

There are people who believe we live in a world, simulated on a computer. That computer must have been built in either another computer-generated world or a real world (by which I mean a non-simulated ...
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1answer
54 views

A universal game [closed]

In this question by "metagame" I mean a game which functions to create the rules of a sub-game. Is there a universal metagame that would allow to create any game (including itself). Such game would ...
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Similar to Douglas Adam's HGTTG, Is there any philosophy that views human society as a computation?

In Douglas Adam's Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy, Earth is a supercomputer that is computing the the Ultimate question, whose answer is 42. I was wondering is Douglas Adams was inspired by any ...
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156 views

Is philosophy computation?

If philosophy is mathematics and mathematics is computation, can I conclude that philosophy is computation? Can we axiomatize philosophy? Can a computer think for us, given the current rise of AI? I'...
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Are uncomputable numbers/things a problem for Wheeler's “it from bit”?

I have some questions related to Wheeler's ideas of "It from bit" and "Law without law" In summary, these both theories postulate that there was an initial universe with no laws from which laws of ...
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Can Schmidhuber's hypothesis reproduce all types of universes? And Wheeler's it from bit? Or Weizsäcker's ur-theory?

I found a paper that talked about paraconsistent logic systems (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraconsistent_logic) and trivialist systems (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trivialism) and the ...
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Do machine learning algorithms have knowledge?

By "machine learning algorithm" I'm referring to basic, primarily statistical, machine learning algorithms; for concrete examples consider simple classifier algorithms like SVM or Bayesian classifier ...
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106 views

Book Recommendation for Computational Theory of Mind

These days I'm really into studying the Computational Theory of Mind (CTM) and I have read papers and documents online. However, I have difficulty capturing the overall (received) theories of CTM at ...
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Is 't Hooft cellular automaton compatible with Floridi's Informational (Structural) Realism?

Informational (Structural) Realism (by Luciano Floridi) relates to digital physics ideas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_physics) As Floridi himself says in one of his articles (http://philsci-...
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105 views

Free will: is reality a record, a game or unpredictable?

If a world is a record (a film), then this scenario does not have conditional rules, i.e., if it can be implemented as a computer program, it will not have "if ... then ..." commands. If a world is a ...
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1answer
266 views

The mathematical language of the brain

This question is similar, but not identical, to one I posted to the mathematics SE some time ago. I was originally unsure of where to post it. I believe this question is sufficiently different to ...
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3answers
498 views

Would a conscious computer naturally hold a solipsistic philosophy?

We're biologically incapable of ignoring our senses. I want to clarify what I mean by this, because as posters have suggested we actually can do so, for example by blinding or gouging our eyes. I'm ...
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2answers
140 views

Where is the knowledge that AI's “knowledge representations” represent?

I find this really confusing. AI often says its computer systems "know" things, but when AI explains how to program a computer to be intelligent, it talks only about "knowledge representation". E.g., ...
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4answers
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How can the physical world be an abstract mathematical structure?

This is Tegmark's short formulation of the "mathematical universe" (paraphrased by detractors as "reality made of math"), and he goes out of his way to stress that he means the "is" literally:"Whereas ...
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1answer
107 views

Where to find the “tightened up” definitions of computing mentioned by Searle?

I think it is probably possible to block the result of universal realizability by tightening up our definition of computation. Certainly we ought to respect the fact that programmers and engineers ...
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Why doesn't the Chinese room learn Chinese?

I just can't see how John Searle's Chinese room makes sense. The room passes the Turing test. People outside the room think there's a human inside who understands Chinese. But, Searle explains, the ...
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1answer
408 views

Can computers do things Turing machines can't?

Today's electronic digital computers are often referred to as universal Turing machines. That is, the concept of the UTM is used to understand today's stored-program electronic digital computers. But ...
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1answer
103 views

What is understanding (of natural language texts) and how can we test or measure it?

What is the definition of the understanding of (written) natural language and how can we test or measure this understanding? What is understanding of the symbolic knowledge be it encoded in any form? ...
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1answer
111 views

What are the philosophical points that make bear out in the ZFC vs ZF debate?

Or rather why do some people vehemently reject axiom of choice? I am interested from this from the perspective of the philosophy of computation. Intuitively, from the little I know, it seems people ...
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3answers
320 views

Does Bitcoin disprove solipsism?

According to Wikipedia, solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist. In 1993, Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor proposed the idea that one could use proof-of-work to ...
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1answer
145 views

Is ESP, in particular telepathy, not computable?

In Alan Turing’s “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” he writes in 6(9) The Argument from Extrasensory Perception that I assume that the reader is familiar with the idea of extrasensory ...
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Is the universe isomorphic to a universal turing machine?

I often think about problems that require an understanding of the very essence of computation and its inherent limitations. So, my questions are as followed: Is the universe isomorphic to a universal ...
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177 views

Does adding structure make the Chinese room semantic?

The Chinese room reacts just to syntax, or shape of symbols (is purely syntactic). But brains are full of structure. In the room, Chinese symbols sit scattered in "piles" on the floor or are moved ...
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1answer
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Is computationalism really a theory, or is it more like a doctrine or creed?

When studying AI, computationalism was always referred to as a theory, a theory of mind, the theory that the mind is an executing computation. But is it really a theory? How could it be disproved or ...
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5answers
169 views

Dichotomy problem: limits of binary systems

What are the limitations of accumulating or storing knowledge in a binary system? For a more concrete question, can all knowledge information be represented by an infinite sequence of 1's and 0's or ...
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1answer
252 views

Logic and Computation : a philosophical viewpoint

The link between logic and computation is stronger than ever, especially since the establishment of the Curry-Howard isomorphism specifying that proofs can be seen as programs and formulas as program'...
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5answers
144 views

Does running a program about quantum mechanics on a quantum computer count as an experiment or a simulation?

When it comes to the simulation vs. experiment debate, some proponents of simulations argue they have equal epistemic value because computer simulations are physical processes happening inside a ...
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5answers
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What are computable numbers, and what is their philosophical significance?

What are Computable Numbers? Is computability (or non-computability) some sort of technology-dependent characteristic of numbers (via e.g. Turing Machines)? What are the philosophical implications or ...
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3answers
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What are the philosophical consequences of the undecidability of the spectral gap in quantum theory?

An article published in Nature yesterday proves that finding the spectral gap of a material based on a complete quantum level description of the material is undecidable (in the Turing sense). One of ...
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1answer
336 views

Given proofs of A → B and A, when do we get a proof of B?

In intuitionistic mathematics, a proposition is true only when a proof of it has been experienced. Following the BHK semantics, a proof of A → B is an algorithm that, when given a proof of A, will ...
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How does Penrose defeat the computational theory of mind?

In Shadows Of The Mind Roger Penrose puts forth a Gödelian argument against the computational theory of mind. He then goes on to suggest that quantum mechanics plays a central role in the realization ...
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Is quantum indeterminacy inextricable from observation?

I understand uncertainty from a combinatorial and game theoretic perspective, as functions of incomplete or imperfect information, or intractability which is a type of inaccessible information in that ...
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Rethinking arithmetic operations after J.L. Austin's performativity?

According to Kant, arithmetic statements such as "7+5=12" are synthetic a priori. Could we alternatively think of this not as a statement, but as an arithmetic-logic operation to be executed (like a ...
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7answers
2k views

Does Searle's Chinese Room model computers correctly?

Searle invented a thought experiment, the Chinese Room, which he proposes is an argument against Strong AI (that machines think) but not against Weak AI (that machines simulate thinking), he has a man ...
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2answers
351 views

Ancestor Simulations Theory contradicts Chaos Theory, Quantum Mechanics and Irreducibility? [closed]

(NB. I've no training as a philosopher, but I'm a student of science with an interest) So there in the media this theory of reality as a simulation is gaining popularity, mostly because of types as ...
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1answer
180 views

Do supporters of “machine creativity” necessarily support “natural creativity”?

Recently, someone asked Can computers be programmed to be creative? on Philosophy SE. The answers seem to be divided into two competing theories: If creativity is defined by the ability to create an ...
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1answer
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Does the simulation hypothesis confuse discovering with inventing?

The simulation hypothesis seems to stipulate that the actual simulation is what makes the inhabitants of the simulated universe to come alive, to exist. This is what I am questioning. If I create a ...
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3answers
2k views

In what way is the lambda calculus stronger than first-order logic?

This wikipedia article on combinatory logic says that Combinatory Logic, Lambda Logic and Turing Machines are equivalent computationally, but that both of these exceed the expressive power of first-...
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2answers
155 views

Scientificity of the Church-Turing's thesis

The definition of the Church-Turing's thesis is an attempt at capturing the intuitive idea of effective computability or "things that can actually be calculated". It has been said that it is not ...
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2answers
322 views

In a Computational Theory of Mind, how do we identify what is being computed?

In a Computational Theory of Mind, how do we identify what is being computed and/or what algorithm is being executed? In general, a process can be viewed at different levels of abstraction. So, for ...
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1answer
81 views

Does a computational model of introspection exist?

This post contains a related question. Probably it is easier (not claiming the computational theory of mind is true) to analyze, if there at least exists an abstract computational machine that is ...
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1answer
122 views

What do dual-intuitionistic and minimal logic model?

As someone interested in theoretical computer science, I'm fairly comfortable with what intuitionistic logic represents. An intuitionistic proof is a proof we can act upon algorithmically. The law of ...
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5answers
140 views

Random Computer Generated Number [closed]

Isn't expecting a computer to generate a random number like expecting a computer to not be a computer? For the computer it is like creating a rule to not follow a rule. I feel EVERYTHING follows a ...
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2answers
601 views

Do qualia have an evolutionary purpose? (assuming they exist)

Do qualia have an evolutionary function, and if so what is it? Could qualia help us solve problems that Turing machines can't solve? Could qualia help us solve problems faster than normal computers? ...
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3answers
230 views

Entanglement and the computability of nature

(Note - I edited to the question in response to answers) In the 1935 EPR paper, Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen write that given two entangled particles, one particle can be used to predict with ...
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2answers
201 views

Do limitations on computability and computational resources have any consequences for epistemology?

Do Turing undecidability and computational complexity considerations (NP-hardness, etc...) have consequences for epistemology? If X function or propostion is undecidable or requires an intractable ...
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402 views

Why can't an algorithm understand incompleteness?

I've heard a lot of people say that Gödel's proof shows that human intelligence somehow goes beyond what a computer could ever do. It's only ever been articulated to me very badly, though not for want ...
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1answer
217 views

Problem of induction without i.i.d

In this paper of Aaronson's, a proof is given of Occam's razor by appealing to PAC learning. My understanding of Valiant's bounds for PAC learners is that it requires i.i.d. This is often a ...