On More or Less Appropriate Notions of ‘Computation’

Stefan Gruner, Andrew Gravell


Half a century after the emergence of computer science (a.k.a. informatics) as an academic discipline, the notion of “computation” is not yet “settled”. On the contrary: recent developments in the natural sciences, in mathematics, as well as in computer hardware engineering have also shaken the belief in the sufficiency of the “classical” notion of “computation” from the tradition of the Church-Turing-Hypothesis. In this paper we review the recent discourse on what is “computation”, and we clarify our own position within this discourse. Although we present some arguments about which notions of “computation” may be considered “reasonably acceptable” for our own historic era, we also emphasize that every science-philosophical notion (including the notion of “computation”) has its own long-term historical semantics which cannot be fixed once and forever. At this point in time, however, no compelling assertion can yet be made about the possibility of “hypercomputation” as proper computation.


Notion of “computation”; pan-computationalism; hyper-computation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18489/sacj.v30i1.580

Copyright (c) 2018 Stefan Gruner, Andrew (Andy) Gravell

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