Computational indeterminacy and explanations in cognitive science

Philippos Papayannopoulos, Nir Fresco, Oron Shagrir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Computational physical systems may exhibit indeterminacy of computation (IC). Their identified physical dynamics may not suffice to select a unique computational profile. We consider this phenomenon from the point of view of cognitive science and examine how computational profiles of cognitive systems are identified and justified in practice, in the light of IC. To that end, we look at the literature on the underdetermination of theory by evidence and argue that the same devices that can be successfully employed to confirm physical hypotheses can also be used to rationally single out computational profiles, notwithstanding IC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
JournalBiology and Philosophy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • Computational explanations
  • Computational individuation
  • Indeterminacy of computation
  • Underdetermination of theory by evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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