[Humanist] 30.853 pubs: What is a computer? cfp

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Mar 29 08:13:38 CEST 2017

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 853.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:46:30 -0500 (CDT)
        From: "Dr. Claiborne Rice" <crice at louisiana.edu>
        Subject: CFP: *Minds & Machines* special issue on "What is a computer?"

My colleague Istvan Berkeley has asked me to forward this CFP to Humanist in 
light of the ongoing DH interest in the history of computing and how such 
work might shed light on the special issue topic. --Clai Rice

Call for Papers for *Minds & Machines* special issue on "What is a 


István S. N. Berkeley, Ph.D.
Philosophy, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Computers have become almost ubiquitous. We find them at our places of work, 
and even on our persons, in the form of 'smart phones' and tablets. Around 
twenty years ago, The Monist published the contributions from several 
philosophers on the question, “What is a computer?”. Yet a robust, 
philosophically adequate conception of what actually constitutes a computer 
still remains lacking. The purpose of this special issue is to address this 
question and explore closely related topics.

This is an important task, as a robust and nuanced idea (or ideas) of what a 
computer is will help inform the development of laws and regulations 
concerning computational technology. It will also shed light upon questions 
about whether certain biological artifacts, like the human brain, should be 
considered computational. A philosophically sophisticated analysis of the 
issues will also help with the evaluation of future technological 
developments and assessing their potential risks and benefits. Thus, papers 
on a broad range of relevant topics are welcome.

The main topics of interest include, but are not restricted to:

What are the necessary and sufficient conditions that a system must satisfy 
to count as a computer?

What architectural features are required for something to count as a genuine 

Are there any features that would rule an artifact out as being a computer?

Can computers be usefully considered as a natural kind?

Can, or should, computing devices be usefully arranged into a taxonomy?

Do we need to have multiple conceptions of what constitutes computing?

What tools can usefully be deployed to define 'computing’?

Do so called "hypercomputers" count as computers?

What effect has massive connectivity had upon our ideas about computers?

Is the human brain a computer?

What important effects have computers had upon the discipline of philosophy?

How far down the photogenic scale of organisms can reliable evidence be 
found of genuine computing taking place?


Deadline for paper submissions: 30 September 2017
Deadline for paper reviewing: 30 October 2017
Deadline for submission of revised papers: 15 November 2017
Deadline for reviewing revised papers: 2 November 2017
Papers will be published in 2018


To submit a paper for this special issue, authors should go to the
journal’s Editorial Manager

The author (or a corresponding author for each submission in case of co-
authored papers) must register into EM.

The author must then select the special article type: " What is a
computer?” from the selection provided in the submission process. This
is needed in order to assign the submissions to the Guest Editor.

Submissions will then be assessed according to the following procedure:

New Submission => Journal Editorial Office => Guest Editor(s) =>
Reviewers => Reviewers’ Recommendations => Guest Editor(s)’
Recommendation => Editor-in-Chief’s Final Decision => Author
Notification of the Decision.

The process will be reiterated in case of requests for revisions.

For any further information please contact:


István S. N. Berkeley, Ph.D. (istvan at louisiana.edu), The Department of
History, Geography and Philosophy, P.O. Box 42531, The University of
Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA, 70504, USA. +(337) 230-3851 (t)
+(337) 482-6809 (f).

Istvan S. N. Berkeley Ph.D
Philosophy and Cognitive Science	E-mail: istvan at louisiana.edu
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette
P.O. Box 42531      			Tel: +1 337 482-6807
Lafayette, LA 70504-2531		Fax: +1 337 482-6809
USA   			http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~isb9112

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