Marr on computational-level theories

Oron Shagrir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


According to Marr, a computational-level theory consists of two elements, the what and the why. This article highlights the distinct role of the Why element in the computational analysis of vision. Three theses are advanced: (a) that the Why element plays an explanatory role in computational-level theories, (b) that its goal is to explain why the computed function (specified by the What element) is appropriate for a given visual task, and (c) that the explanation consists in showing that the functional relations between the representing cells are similar to the "external" mathematical relations between the entities that these cells represent.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)477-500
Number of pages24
JournalPhilosophy of Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010


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