What it is not to Implement a Computation: A Critical Analysis of Chalmers’ Notion of Implemention

Year
2012
Volume 13
Issue 1
Pages
75-106
Authors
Matthias Scheutz
Abstract
In this paper, we introduce what can be called the “standard account of implementation” and briefly mention some objections raised against it. Then we carefully examine Chalmers’ account of implementation and show that without a notion of “legitimate grouping of physical states” all sorts of physical systems would implement unintended computations. Specifically, we show how, despite Chalmers’ attempts to overcome the difficulties inherent in defining physical state types, his definition of implementation still allows for unwanted implementations.

Key words: implementation, computation, computationalism, physical realization