The neuron as an analog NOT digital system

Marc Anton ma2 at
Tue Aug 8 03:45:33 EST 1995

     Many scientists and philosophers today seem to be guilty of
something I'll call "neural
reductionism", a contemporary epistemic malady where otherwise
infinitely complex neurons are "reduced" to the simple on and
off firings we'd like to associate with today's computers.
     Though we tend to think of the neuron as essentially
a digital processor (with its on and off firings) it's really
closer to an analog processor with infinitely complex chemical
and electrical functions above and beyond anything capable with
digital reductionism.
     Everyone has heard how neurons function as digital-like
on and off signals, but I'd like to hear more on how they're
more analog than digital, e.g., the signals will vary in 
intensity and frequency, as well as the chemical aspects which
evade simple signal non-signal depictions.

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