Crash Testing an Engineering Framework in Neuroscience: Does the Idea of Robustness Break Down?

Publication Year:
Usage 68
Downloads 68
Social Media 1
Tweets 1
Repository URL:
Chirimuuta, M.
Most Recent Tweet View All Tweets
conference paper description
In this paper I discuss the concept of robustness in neuroscience. Various mechanisms for making systems robust have been discussed across biology and neuroscience (e.g. redundancy and fail-safes). Many of these notions originate from engineering. I argue that concepts borrowed from engineering aid neuroscientists in (1) operationalizing robustness; (2) formulating hypotheses about mechanisms for robustness; and (3) quantifying robustness. Furthermore, I argue that the significant disanalogies between brains and engineered artefacts raise important questions about the applicability of the engineering framework. I argue that the use of such concepts should be understood as a kind of simplifying idealization.