Articles

In Preparation
Oron Shagrir. In Preparation. Computation and the Brain.
Lotem Elber-Dorozko and Oron Shagrir. In Preparation. “Computation and the Mechanistic Hierarchy”.
Oron Shagrir. In Preparation. “In a Defense of the Semantic View of Computation”.
Oron Shagrir. In Preparation. “Justifying the Church-Turing thesis”.
Jack Copeland, Gualtiero Piccinini, Diane Proudfoot, and Oron Shagrir. In Preparation. Philosophy of Computing. The Turing Archive for the History of Computing.Abstract

A free-access web-designed textbook based on our published work.

Jens Harbecke and Oron Shagrir. In Preparation. “The Role of the Contextual Level in Computational Explanations”.
Oron Shagrir. In Preparation. “Testing Article”.
Jack Copeland and Oron Shagrir. In Preparation. “The Church-Turing thesis: Past, Present, Future.” Communications of the ACM .
Forthcoming
Oron Shagrir. Forthcoming. “The Brain as an Input-Output Model of the World.” Minds and Machines. The Brain as an Input-Output Model of the World.pdf
Lotem Elber-Dorozko and Oron Shagrir. Forthcoming. “Levels in Computational Explanations.” In Routledge Handbook of the Computational Mind, edited by Matteo Colombo and Mark Sprevak. Routledege.
Jack Copeland, Oron Shagrir, and Mark Sprevak. Forthcoming. “Zuse's Thesis, Gandy's Thesis, and Penrose's Thesis.” In Computational Perspectives on Physics, Physical Perspectives on Computation, edited by Michael Cuffaro and Sam Fletcher. Cambridge University Press.
2017
Oron Shagrir and William Bechtel. 2017. “Marr's Computational-Level Theories and Delineating Phenomena.” In Integrating Psychology and Neuroscience: Prospects and Problems, edited by David Kaplan, 190-214. Oxford University Press.Abstract

A key component of scientific inquiry, especially inquiry devoted to developing mechanistic explanations, is delineating the phenomenon to be explained. The task of delineating phenomena, however, has not been sufficiently analyzed, even by the new mechanistic philosophers of science. We contend that Marr’s characterization of what he called the computational level (CL) provides a valuable resource for understanding what is involved in delineating phenomena. Unfortunately, the distinctive feature of Marr’s computational level, his dual emphasis on both what is computed and why it is computed, has not been appreciated in philosophical discussions of Marr. Accordingly we offer a distinctive account of CL. This then allows us to develop two important points about delineating phenomena. First, the accounts of phenomena that figure in explanatory practice are typically not qualitative but precise, formal or mathematical, representations. Second, delineating phenomena requires consideration of the demands the environment places on the mechanism—identifying, as Marr put it, the basis of the computed function in the world. As valuable as Marr’s account of CL is in characterizing phenomena, we contend that ultimately he did not go far enough. Determining the relevant demands of the environment on the mechanism often requires detailed empirical investigation. Moreover, often phenomena are reconstituted in the course of inquiry on the mechanism itself.

Marr’s Computational Level and Delineating Phenomena.pdf
Oron Shagrir. 2017. “Review Essay on Physical Computation: A Mechanistic Account, by Gualtiero Piccinini (Oxford University Press).” Philosophy of Science, 84: 604-612. Review of Physical Computation: A Mechanistic Account.pdf
Jack Copeland, Mark Sprevak, and Oron Shagrir. 2017. “Is the Universe Computational?.” In The Turing Guide, edited by Jonathan Bowen, Jack Copeland, Mark Sprevak, and Robin Wilsons, 445-462. Oxford University Press.
2016
Oron Shagrir. 2016. “Advertisement for the Philosophy of the Computational Sciences.” In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science, edited by Paul Humphreys, 15-42. Oxford University Press. Advertisement for the Philosophy of the Computational Sciences
Jack Copeland, Eli Dresner, Diane Proudfoot, and Oron Shagrir. 2016. “Time to Re-inspect the Foundations?.” Communications of the ACM, 59: 34-36.
2015
William Bechtel and Oron Shagrir. 2015. “The Non-Redundant Contributions of Marr's Three Levels of Analysis for Explaining Information Processing Mechanisms.” Topics in Cognitive Science (TopiCS), 7: 312-322.Abstract

Are all three of Marr's levels needed? Should they be kept distinct? We argue for the distinct contributions and methodologies of each level of analysis. It is important to maintain them because they provide three different perspectives required to understand mechanisms, especially information-processing mechanisms. The computational perspective provides an understanding of how a mechanism functions in broader environments that determines the computations it needs to perform (and may fail to perform). The representation and algorithmic perspective offers an understanding of how information about the environment is encoded within the mechanism and what are the patterns of organization that enable the parts of the mechanism to produce the phenomenon. The implementation perspective yields an understanding of the neural details of the mechanism and how they constrain function and algorithms. Once we adequately characterize the distinct role of each level of analysis, it is fairly straightforward to see how they relate.

The Non-Redundant Contributions of Marr’s Three Levels of Analysis for Explaining Information Processing Mechanisms
2014
Oron Shagrir. 1/2014. “Review of Marcin Milkowski, Explaining the Computational Mind (MIT Press).” Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Explaining the Computational Mind.pdf
Gualtiero Piccinini and Oron Shagrir. 2014. “Foundations of Computational Neuroscience.” Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 25: 25-30.Abstract

Most computational neuroscientists assume that nervous systems computeand process information. We discuss foundational issues such as what we mean by ‘computation’ and ‘information processing’ in nervous systems; whether computation and information processing are matters of objective fact or of conventional, observer-dependent description; and how computational descriptions and explanations are related to other levels of analysis and organization.

Foundations of Computational Neuroscience.pdf
Oron Shagrir. 2014. “Putnam and Computational Functionalism.” In Key Thinkers in Philosophy of Mind, edited by Andrew Bailey, 147-168. Continuum Press. Putnam and Computational Functionalism.pdf

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