HomeΦιλοσοφια: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 40 no. 1 (2011)

Computer Simulation of Human Thinking: An Inquiry into its Possibility and Implications

Napoleon M. Mabaquiao Jr.

Discipline: Philosophy



Critical in the computationalist account of the mind is the phenomenon called computational or computer simulation of human thinking, which is used to establish the theses that human thinking is a computational process and that computing machines are thinking systems. Accordingly, if human thinking can be simulated computationally then human thinking is a computational process; and if human thinking is a computational process then its computational simulation is itself a thinking process. This paper shows that the said phenomenon—the computational simulation of human thinking—is ill-conceived, and that, as a consequence, the theses that it intends to establish are problematic. It is argued that what is simulated computationally is not human thinking as such but merely its behavioral manifestations; and that a computational simulation of these behavioral manifestations does not necessarily establish that human thinking is computational, as it is logically possible for a non-computational system to exhibit behaviors that lend themselves to a computational simulation.