Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13396
Author(s):
Charles Rathkopf
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preprint description
Nervous systems process information. This platitude contains an in- teresting ambiguity between multiple senses of the term “information.” According to a popular thought, the ambiguity is best resolved by reserv -ing semantic concepts of information for the explication of neural activity at a high level of organization, and quantitative concepts of information for the explication of neural activity at a low level of organization. This article articulates the justification behind this view, and concludes that it is an oversimplification. An analysis of the meaning of claims about Shannon information rates in the spiking activity of neurons is then developed. On the basis of that analysis, it is shown that quantitative conceptions of information are more intertwined with semantic concepts than they seem to be, and, partially for that reason, are also more philosophically interesting.

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