IIT is also described in Christof Koch’s memoir , which I haven’t yet read.
(Koch, one of the world’s best-known thinkers and writers about consciousness, has also become an evangelist for IIT.) So, I want to explain why I don’t think IIT solves even the problem that it “plausibly ” solved.
Namely, no matter what the third-person facts were, one could always imagine a universe consistent with those facts in which no one “really” experienced anything.
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So, this is the post that I promised to Max and all the others, about why I don’t believe IIT.
And yes, it will contain that quantitative calculation. The central ideas of IIT, as I understand them, are: (1) to propose a quantitative measure, called Φ, of the amount of “integrated information” in a physical system (i.e.
Faced with this point, many scientifically-minded people start yelling and throwing things.
They say that “zombies” and so forth are empty metaphysics, and that our only hope of learning about consciousness is to engage with actual facts about the brain. As far as I’m concerned, you absolutely have the option of dismissing Chalmers’ Hard Problem as a navel-gazing distraction from the real work of neuroscience.
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What questions should it answer, and how should we judge whether it’s succeeded?
The most obvious thing a consciousness theory could do is to : that is, to solve what David Chalmers calls the “Hard Problem,” by telling us how a clump of neurons is able to give rise to the taste of strawberries, the redness of red … Alas, there’s a strong argument—one that I, personally, find completely convincing—why that’s too much to ask of scientific theory.
On the other hand, for the theory to work, it had better be the case that Φ is for “intuitively conscious” systems.