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Erkenntnis

, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 421–425 | Cite as

Adam Olszewski, Jan Wolenski, and Robert Janusz (eds): Church’s Thesis After 70 Years

Ontos Mathematical Logic, Volume 1. Ontos Verlag, Frankfurt a. M., 2006, cloth, 551 pp, EUR 129.00, ISBN 3-938793-09-0
  • Sven Ove Hansson
Book Review

In 1936 Alonzo Church, Emil Post and Alan Turing, independently and almost simultaneously, proposed a precise mathematical definition of the intuitive notion of computability. Several generalized methods for computation, among them Turing machines, turned out to be equivalent, and it was postulated that they correspond exactly to what a computing agent acting mechanically is able to compute (or rather: would be able to compute in unlimited finite time if provided with unlimited memory). This postulate is now called “Church’s Thesis” or the “Church–Turing thesis”. Its philosophical impact can hardly be underestimated. It has given us new perspectives on the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and computer science. It also has thoroughgoing implications for the philosophy of the natural sciences, in particular physics.

Olszewski, Wolenski, and Janusz have collected an impressive set of papers that cover a wide array of topics related to Church’s thesis. The quality is...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of PhilosophyRoyal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden

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