Implementation as resemblance


*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This article advertises a new account of computational implementation. According to the resemblance account, implementation is a matter of resembling a computational architecture. The resemblance account departs from previous theories by denying that computational architectures are exhausted by their formal, mathematical features. Instead, they are taken to be permeated with causality, spatiotemporality, and other nonmathematical features. I argue that this approach comports well with computer scientific practice and offers a novel response to so-called triviality arguments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021-1032
Number of pages12
JournalPhilosophy of Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

For helpful comments and discussion I would like to thank Samuel Fletcher, Chris Pincock, Richard Samuels, and Stewart Shapiro. I would also like to thank audiences at the Ohio State Graduate Student Workshop, the 2019 Society for the Metaphysics of Science conference, and the American Philosophical Association (APA) 2020 Central Division meeting for comments and feedback. Special thanks go to Michael Rescorla, whose APA commentary led to substantial improvements in the article.


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