Confirmation and the Computational Paradigm (or: Why Do You Think They Call It Artificial Intelligence?)
The idea that human cognitive capacities are explainable by computational models is often conjoined with the idea that, while the states postulated by such models are in fact realized by brain states, there are no type-type correlations between the states postulated by computational models and brain states (a corollary of token physicalism). I argue that these ideas are not jointly tenable. I discuss the kinds of empirical evidence available to cognitive scientists for (dis)confirming computational models of cognition and argue that none of these kinds of evidence can be relevant to a choice among competing computational models unless there are in fact type-type correlations between the states postulated by computational models and brain states. Thus, I conclude, research into the computational procedures employed in human cognition must be conducted hand-in-hand with research into the brain processes which realize those procedures.