Neural Oscillations as Representations


We explore the contribution made by oscillatory, synchronous neural activity to representation in the brain. We closely examine six prominent examples of brain function in which neural oscillations play a central role, and identify two levels of involvement that these oscillations take in the emergence of representations: enabling (when oscillations help to establish a communication channel between sender and receiver, or are causally involved in triggering a representation) and properly representational (when oscillations are a constitutive part of the representation). We show that even an idealized informational sender-receiver account of representation makes the representational status of oscillations a non-trivial matter, which depends on rather minute empirical details.

forthcoming in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science