## The Broad Conception Of Computation (1997)

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Venue: | American Behavioral Scientist |

Citations: | 11 - 2 self |

### BibTeX

@ARTICLE{Copeland97thebroad,

author = {B. Jack Copeland},

title = {The Broad Conception Of Computation},

journal = {American Behavioral Scientist},

year = {1997},

volume = {40},

pages = {690--716}

}

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### Abstract

A myth has arisen concerning Turing's paper of 1936, namely that Turing set forth a fundamental principle concerning the limits of what can be computed by machine - a myth that has passed into cognitive science and the philosophy of mind, to wide and pernicious effect. This supposed principle, sometimes incorrectly termed the 'Church-Turing thesis', is the claim that the class of functions that can be computed by machines is identical to the class of functions that can be computed by Turing machines. In point of fact Turing himself nowhere endorses, nor even states, this claim (nor does Church). I describe a number of notional machines, both analogue and digital, that can compute more than a universal Turing machine. These machines are exemplars of the class of nonclassical computing machines. Nothing known at present rules out the possibility that machines in this class will one day be built, nor that the brain itself is such a machine. These theoretical considerations undercut a numb...