Computational indeterminacy and explanations in cognitive science

Philippos Papayannopoulos*, Nir Fresco, Oron Shagrir

*Corresponding author for this work

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 languageAmerican English
Article number47
JournalBiology and Philosophy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
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  • Computational explanations
  • Computational individuation
  • Indeterminacy of computation
  • Underdetermination of theory by evidence


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