Crash testing an engineering framework in neuroscience: Does the idea of robustness break down?

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Abstract / Description of output

In this article, 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 artifacts 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1140-1151
JournalPhilosophy of Science
Volume84
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2017

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