Information and the function of neurons

Abstract
Many of us consider it uncontroversial that information processing is a natural function of the brain. Since functions in biology are only won through empirical investigation, there should be a significant body of unambiguous evidence that supports this functional claim. Before we can interpret the evidence, however, we must ask what it means for a biological system to process information. Although a concept of information is generally accepted in the neurosciences without critique, in other biological sciences applications of information, despite careful analysis, remain controversial. In this work I will review classical stimulus-response studies in neuroscience and use Claude Shannon’s mathematical information theory as a starting point to interpret information processing as a function of the brain. I will illustrate a disanalogy between Shannon’s communication model (source, encode, channel, receiver, decode) and neural systems, and will argue that the neural code is not very code-like in comparison to genetic and engineered codes. I suggest that we have conflated the act of representing neuroscientific facts—which we do to summarize and communicate our findings with others—with taking experimental facts to be representations.
Keywords information theory  neuroscience  function
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,440
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Quantum Information Does Not Exist.A. Duwell - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 34 (3):479-499.
The Transmission Sense of Information.Carl T. Bergstrom & Martin Rosvall - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (2):159-176.
A Teleosemantic Approach to Information in the Brain.Rosa Cao - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):49-71.
The Information Medium.Orlin Vakarelov - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (1):47-65.
“A Reexamination of Biological Information From the Perspective of Practice”.Barton Moffatt - 2009 - Society of Philosophy of Science in Practice Conference Paper (2009).
From Symbolism to Information? – Decoding the Gene Code.Frode Kjosavik - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):333-349.
Intrinsic Information.John D. Collier - 1990 - In Philip P. Hanson (ed.), Information, Language and Cognition. University of British Columbia Press. pp. 1--390.
On the 'Transmission Sense of Information'.Ulrich E. Stegmann - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (1):141-144.
Added to PP index
2011-09-26

Total downloads
34 ( #153,886 of 2,180,174 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #105,536 of 2,180,174 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums