Do Walls Compute After All?

Matthias Scheutz

In this is paper I will briefly describe Searle’s criticism of "strong AI" (which extends to computationalism in general) and review Copeland’s version of what he calls "Searle’s Theorem," a claim made by Searle that "for any object there is some description of that object such that under that description the object is a digital computer." Copeland’s own diagnosis and his solution to the paradox posed by Searle’s Theorem will then be examined more closely. An analysis of Copeland’s definition of what it means to implement a computation will yield a Searle-like counterexample of computing (extending an idea advanced by Putnam): under a certain interpretation walls will, after all, compute. A brief discussion and assessment of the consequences of my counterexample will -- contrary to one’s expectation -- provide an optimistic outlook for computationalism.


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