Integrated Information Theory

2022-02-26 22:23

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. See also [[The whole is less than the sum of its parts]].

  • INFORMATIVE: each conscious experience is unique. An experience being unique is driven by what it is not rather than what it is. Therefore, as listening to Nina Simone whilst eating strawberries on a rollercoaster offers just as many alternative experiences as sitting with your eyes closed in a silent room, they are equally informative.
  • INTEGRATED: Every experience of consciousness is experienced as a whole scene. It is inescapably and fundamentally tied together.

IIT takes an [[Axiomatic]] approach to consciousness. This leds to one of the most unusual things about IIT, which is that it holds that anything can be conscious.

IIT attempts to move beyond phenomenology to deal with the 'hard problem' of consciousness.

The axoims it holds are:

  • Intrinsic experience - consciousness exists, and each experience is actual and independent
  • Composition - consciousness is structured. Each experience is composed of multiple phenomenological distinctions
  • Information - consciounsess is specific. Each experience is the particular way it is
  • Integration - Consciousness is unified and each experience is irreducable
  • Exclusion - Each experience happens at the speed it happens.

This means that consciousness emerges from the properties of a system. Consciousness emerges from the brain being an incredibly complex system doing thousands of things a second.

'What makes something 'alive' and why modern darwinism has. failed to explain it, a hive mind emerges in a termite colony from the collective behaviour of the termites. It is not 'in' any one termite's brain, nor 'in' a special place in all of them. Ahive mind can only be understood as an emerging process.' - Turner, Purpose and Desire.

IIT is panpsychist in nature. Taken to its logical conclusion (and it is an axiomatic theory after all) some level of experience can be found in all organisms.