The Problem with the 'Information' in Integrated Information Theory

Journal of Consciousness Studies 24 (7-8):130-154 (2017)
Garrett Mindt
Central European University
Integrated Information Theory (IIT) of Consciousness is becoming an increasingly popular neuroscientific account of phenomenal experience. IIT claims that consciousness is integrated information in a system. I set this theory against the hard problem of consciousness (Chalmers, 1996, 1995) as the goal for a theory of consciousness to meet. In this essay I look to examine and ultimately critique IIT’s use of the notion of information to base a theory of consciousness. I argue that the notion of information in IIT is a purely structural-dynamical notion, and so falls afoul of the structure and dynamics argument (Chalmers, 2003). I bolster these claims by appeal to the explanatory gap argument and show how IIT succumbs to this argument as well. For these reasons, I call into doubt IIT’s ability to answer the hard problem of consciousness. Although this paper argues against the notion of information in IIT, in a broader context the criticisms which I raise here can be brought against any theory that attempts to explain consciousness as an information-theoretic phenomenon.
Keywords Consciousness  Integrated Information Theory  Information  Hard Problem of Consciousness  Structure and Dynamics  Explanatory Gap
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,830
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness.Fallon Francis - 2016 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness.David J. Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.
Giving Up on the Hard Problem of Consciousness.Eugene O. Mills - 1996 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):26-32.
Giving Up on the Hard Problem of Consciousness. E. Mills - 1996 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):26-32.
The Relation of Consciousness to the Material World.Max Velmans - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):255-265.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
56 ( #116,068 of 2,293,764 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
12 ( #39,723 of 2,293,764 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature