Intervening on the Causal Exclusion Problem for Integrated Information Theory

Minds and Machines 28 (2):331-351 (2018)
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Abstract

In this paper, we examine the causal framework within which integrated information theory of consciousness makes it claims. We argue that, in its current formulation, IIT is threatened by the causal exclusion problem. Some proponents of IIT have attempted to thwart the causal exclusion problem by arguing that IIT has the resources to demonstrate genuine causal emergence at macro scales. In contrast, we argue that their proposed solution to the problem is damagingly circular as a result of inter-defining information and causation. As a solution, we propose that IIT should adopt the specific interventionist causal framework that we offer and show how IIT can harness this interventionist framework to avoid the causal exclusion problem. We demonstrate how our argument remains fully compatible with the methodology, empirical data, and conceptual aims of the theory.

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