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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

Volume 88, Issue 1, January 2014

Michael Rescorla
Pages 173-208

The Causal Relevance of Content to Computation

Many philosophers worry that the classical computational theory of mind (CTM) engenders epiphenomenalism. Building on Block's (1990) discussion, I formulate a particularly troubling version of this worry. I then present a novel solution to CTM's epiphenomenalist conundrum. I develop my solution within an interventionist theory of causal relevance. My solution departs substantially from orthodox versions of CTM. In particular, I reject the widespread picture of digital computation as formal syntactic manipulation.'