Philosophy of cellular automata

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André Ourednik, 2004, « Philosophy of cellular automata », (sous la supervision du Prof. Michael Esfeld, section de philosophie)

.abstract: In the last decade, triggered by a historical leap in computer technology, a theory bearing the name of "cellular automata" (CA) – founded by von Neuman in the 1950's – has reacquired rising interest among theoreticians in most research fields of both the natural and the human sciences. The aim of this presentation, after a short recall of the model, is to present some salient aspects of CA's relevance to philosophy. We shall ask in which new ways the CA allow the philosopher to address some of the main metaphysical and ontological issues. Upon the background of CA, we shall thus briefly examine the opposition between discreteness and continuity, the opposition between movement and immobility, as well as the question of the ontological status of life and of our mental states. Lastly, we shall briefly examine CA from an epistemological point of view.