Academic Appointments


Program Affiliations


  • Symbolic Systems Program

2020-21 Courses


Stanford Advisees


  • Doctoral Dissertation Reader (AC)
    Grace Huckins
  • Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
    Sally Tilton
  • Doctoral (Program)
    Imran Thobani

All Publications


  • Modest and immodest neural codes: Can there be modest codes? The Behavioral and brain sciences Cao, R., Rathkopf, C. 2019; 42: e221

    Abstract

    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.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0140525X19001420

    View details for PubMedID 31775923

  • COMPUTATIONAL EXPLANATIONS AND NEURAL CODING ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF THE COMPUTATIONAL MIND Cao, R., Sprevak, M., Colombo, M. 2019: 283–96
  • Content in Simple Signalling Systems. The British journal for the philosophy of science Shea, N., Godfrey-Smith, P., Cao, R. 2018; 69 (4): 1009–35

    Abstract

    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 is important. This article shows that this concept can be made precise by defining a notion of functional content that captures the degree to which different states of the world are involved in stabilizing senders' and receivers' use of a signal at equilibrium. A series of case studies is used to contrast functional content with informational content, and to illustrate the explanatory role and limitations of this definition of functional content. 1Introduction 2Modelling Framework 3Two Kinds of Content3.1Informational content3.2Functional content 4Cases4.1Case 1: Simplest case4.2Case 2: Partial pooling4.3Case 3: Bottleneck4.4Case 4: Partial common interest4.5Case 5: Deception4.6Case 6: A further problem arising from divergent interests 5Discussion Appendix.

    View details for PubMedID 30443051