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Rosa Cao
Stanford University
  1. Content in Simple Signalling Systems.Nicholas Shea, Peter Godfrey-Smith & Rosa Cao - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1009-1035.
    Our understanding of communication and its evolution has advanced significantly through the study of simple models involving interacting senders and receivers of signals. Many theorists have thought that the resources of mathematical information theory are all that are needed to capture the meaning or content that is being communicated in these systems. However, the way theorists routinely talk about the models implicitly draws on a conception of content that is richer than bare informational content, especially in contexts where false content (...)
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  2. A Teleosemantic Approach to Information in the Brain.Rosa Cao - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):49-71.
    The brain is often taken to be a paradigmatic example of a signaling system with semantic and representational properties, in which neurons are senders and receivers of information carried in action potentials. A closer look at this picture shows that it is not as appealing as it might initially seem in explaining the function of the brain. Working from several sender-receiver models within the teleosemantic framework, I will first argue that two requirements must be met for a system to support (...)
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  3. New Labels for Old Ideas: Predictive Processing and the Interpretation of Neural Signals.Rosa Cao - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (3):517-546.
    Philosophical proponents of predictive processing cast the novelty of predictive models of perception in terms of differences in the functional role and information content of neural signals. However, they fail to provide constraints on how the crucial semantic mapping from signals to their informational contents is determined. Beyond a novel interpretative gloss on neural signals, they have little new to say about the causal structure of the system, or even what statistical information is carried by the signals. That means that (...)
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  4. Signaling in the Brain: In Search of Functional Units.Rosa Cao - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):891-901.
    What are the functional units of the brain? If the function of the brain is to process information-carrying signals, then the functional units will be the senders and receivers of those signals. Neurons have been the default candidate, with action potentials as the signals. But there are alternatives: synapses fit the action potential picture more cleanly, and glial activities (e.g., in astrocytes) might also be characterized as signaling. Are synapses or nonneuronal cells better candidates to play the role of functional (...)
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    Putting Representations to Use.Rosa Cao - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2).
    Are there representations in the brain? It depends on what you mean by representations, and it depends on what you want them to do for you—both in terms of the causal role they play in the system, and in terms of their explanatory value. But ideally, we would like an account of representation that allows us to assign a representational role and content to the appropriate mechanistic precursors of behavior that in fact play that role and conversely, search for the (...)
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    Crowding Out Memetic Explanation.Rosa Cao - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (5):1160-1171.
    Memes have been proposed to explain wide swathes of human culture and language use. I argue that what is really doing the explanatory work in many of these cases is a basic mechanism of information...
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    Modest and Immodest Neural Codes: Can There Be Modest Codes?Rosa Cao & Charles Rathkopf - 2019 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42.
    We argue that Brette's arguments, or some variation on them, work only against the immodest codes imputed by neuroscientists to the signals they study; they do not tell against “modest” codes, which may be learned by neurons themselves. Still, caution is warranted: modest neural codes likely lead to only modest explanatory gains.
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