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Propositional reasoning is the ability to draw conclusions on the basis of sentence connectives such as and, if, or, and not. A psychological theory of prepositional reasoning explains the mental operations that underlie this ability. The ANDS (A Natural Deduction System) model, described in the following pages, is one such theory that makes explicit(More)
There is no broadly accepted definition of 'life.' Suggested definitions face problems, often in the form of robust counter-examples. Here we use insights from philosophical investigations into language to argue that defining 'life' currently poses a dilemma analogous to that faced by those hoping to define 'water' before the existence of molecular theory.(More)
Astrobiologists are aware that extraterrestrial life might differ from known life, and considerable thought has been given to possible signatures associated with weird forms of life on other planets. So far, however, very little attention has been paid to the possibility that our own planet might also host communities of weird life. If life arises readily(More)
I explore the conceptual foundations of Alan Turing's analysis of computability, which still dominates thinking about computability today. I argue that Turing's account represents a last vestige of a famous but unsuccessful program in pure mathematics, viz., Hilbert's formalist program. It is my contention that the plausibility of Turing's account as an(More)
The Church-Turing thesis makes a bold claim about the theoretical limits to computation. It is based upon independent analyses of the general notion of an effective procedure proposed by Alan Turing and Alonzo Church in the 1930's. As originally construed, the thesis applied only to the number theoretic functions; it amounted to the claim that there were no(More)
Horsten and Roelants have raised a number of important questions about my analysis of effective procedures and my evaluation of the Church-Turing thesis. They suggest that, on my account, effective procedures cannot enter the mathematical world because they have a built-in component of causality, and, hence, that my arguments against the Church-Turing(More)
Since the mid-twentieth century, the concept of the Turing machine has dominated thought about effective procedures. This paper presents an alternative to Turing's analysis; it unifies, refines, and extends my earlier work on this topic. I show that Turing machines cannot live up to their billing as paragons of effective procedure; at best, they may be said(More)