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Proceedings 2017, 1(3), 160;

Physical Uncomputability

University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8041, New Zealand
Presented at the IS4SI 2017 Summit DIGITALISATION FOR A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY, Gothenburg, Sweden, 12–16 June 2017.
Published: 9 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Proceedings of the IS4SI 2017 Summit DIGITALISATION FOR A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY)
PDF [110 KB, uploaded 7 August 2017]


The Physical Computability Thesis (PCT) states that the physical world is computable. Sometimes it is argued that a well-evidenced logical principle, the Church-Turing Thesis, entails PCT. But this reasoning is faulty. I argue that it is an open question whether PCT is true: even if the universe is finite, physics may turn out to confound PCT. What would a non-computable physics look like, and what would be the implications for scientists and engineers? I review potential countermodels to various formulations of PCT.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Copeland, J. Physical Uncomputability. Proceedings 2017, 1, 160.

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