The Problem of Pancomputationalism: Focusing on Three Related Arguments

Volume 21
Issue 2
SeongSoo Park
Pancomputationalism is the view that everything is a computer. This, if true, poses some difficulties to the computational theory of cognition. In particular, the strongest version of it suggested by John Searle seems enough to trivialize computational cognitivists’ core idea on which our cognitive system is a computing system. The aim of this paper is to argue against Searle’s pancomputationalism. To achieve this, I will draw a line between realized computers and unrealized computers. Through this distinction, I expect that it will become evident that Searle’s pancomputationalism should be understood in terms of unrealized computers, while the computational theory of cognition is concerned with realized computers.

Keywords: Pancomputationalism, Computational Theory of Cognition, John Searle, The Chinese Room Argument, Functionalism