Advertisement

Integrated Information Theory, Searle, and the Arbitrariness Question

  • Francis Fallon
Article

Abstract

Integrated Information Theory (IIT) posits a new kind of information, which, given certain constraints, constitutes consciousness. Searle objects to IIT because its appeal to information relies on observer-relative features. This misses the point that IIT’s notion of integrated information is intrinsic, the opposite of observer-relative. Moreover, Searle overlooks the possibility that IIT could be embraced as an extension of his theory. While he insists that causal powers of the brain account for consciousness, he maintains that these causal powers aren’t tied to protoplasmic material. Whatever these causal powers are (Searle doesn’t offer a positive account), they don’t consist in mere information-processing or computation. IIT agrees, and also positively characterizes the relevant causal powers as those involved in generating integrated information. Examining the further commitments of each theory reveals that IIT renews a fundamentally ontological challenge to information-processing and computational theories of mind.

References

  1. Aaronson, S. 2014a (May 21). Why I am not an integrated information theorist (or, the unconscious expander) [Web log post]. Retrieved from Shtetl-Optimized, http://scottaaronson.com/blog.
  2. Aaronson, S. 2014b (May 30, June 2). Giulio Tononi and me: a phi-nal exchange. [Web log post]. Retrieved from Shtetl-Optimized, http://scottaaronson.com/blog.
  3. Cerullo, M. 2011. Integrated Information Theory: a promising but ultimately incomplete theory of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 18: 45–58.Google Scholar
  4. Chalmers, D. 1996. Does a rock implement every finite-state automaton? Synthese 108: 309–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chalmers, D. 2011. A computational foundation for the study of cognition. Journal of Cognitive Science 12: 323–357.Google Scholar
  6. Chalmers, D. 2016. Panpyschism and protopanpsychism. In Panpsychism: contemporary perspectives, ed. G. Bruntrup and L. Jaskolla. Oxford: Oxford UP.Google Scholar
  7. Copeland, J. 1996. What is computation? Synthese 108: 335–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dennett, D. 1980. The milk of human intentionality. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1980 (3).Google Scholar
  9. Edelman, G. 1989. The remembered present: A biological theory of consciousness. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  10. Edelman, G., and G. Tononi. 2000. A universe of consciousness: How matter becomes imagination. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  11. Egan, F. 2012. Metaphysics and computational cognitive science: let’s not let the tail wag the dog. Journal of Cognitive Science 13: 39–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fallon, F. 2016. Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.Google Scholar
  13. Fallon, F. 2018. Integrated information theory. In The Routledge Handbook of Consciousness, ed. R. Gennaro. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Hofstadter, D. 1981. Reflections. In The mind’s eye: Fantasies and reflections on self & soul, ed. D. Hofstadter and D. Dennett, 373–382. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  15. Jaworski, W. 2016. Structure and metaphysics of mind: how hylomorphism solves the mind-body problem. Oxford: Oxford UP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Koch, C. 2012. Consciousness: Confessions of a romantic reductionist. The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  17. Koch, C. & Tononi, G. 2013. Can a photodiode be conscious? New York Review of Books (7 March 2013). Retrieved from http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2013/03/07/can-photodiode-be-conscious/. Accessed 21 June 2018.
  18. List, C. 2018. What is like to be a group agent? Nous 52 (2).Google Scholar
  19. Manson, N. 2003. Consciousness. In John Searle, ed. B. Smith. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.Google Scholar
  20. Melnyk, A. 1996. Searle’s abstract argument against strong AI. Synthese 108: 391–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Oizumi, M., Albantakis, L., & Tononi, G. 2014. From the phenomenology to the mechanisms of consciousness: integrated information theory 3.0. PLOS Computational Biology.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003588
  22. Page, S. 2004. Searle’s realism deconstructed. Philosophical Forum 35 (3).Google Scholar
  23. Peressini, A. 2013. Consciousness as integrated information: a provisional philosophical critique. Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (1–2).Google Scholar
  24. Piccinini, G. 2007. Computational modelling vs. computational explanation: Is everything a Turing machine, and does it matter to philosophy of mind? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85: 93–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Putnam, H. 1988. Representation and Reality. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  26. Pylyshyn, Z. 1980. The ‘causal powers’ of machines. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1980 (3).Google Scholar
  27. Rescorla, M. 2015. The computational theory of mind. In, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2017 Edition), ed. E.N.. Zalta, URL = https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2017/entries/computational-mind/.
  28. Ringle, M. 1980. Mysticism as a philosophy of artificial intelligence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3: 417–457.Google Scholar
  29. Schopenhauer, A. 1969. The world as will and representation, trans. E.F.J. Payne. Dover Books.Google Scholar
  30. Searle, J. 1980. Author’s reply. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1980(3).Google Scholar
  31. Searle, J. 1981. Minds, brains and programs. In The mind’s eye: Fantasies and reflections on self & soul, ed. D. Hofstadter and D. Dennett, 353–373. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  32. Searle, J. 1992. The Rediscovery of mind. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. Searle, J. 1998. Mind, language and society: philosophy in the real world. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  34. Searle, J. 2013a. Can information theory explain consciousness? New York Review of Books, pp. 54–58 (10 January 2013). Retrieved from http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2013/01/10/can-information-theory-explain-consciousness/. Accessed 21 June 2018.
  35. Searle, J. 2013b. Reply to Koch and Tononi. New York Review of Books (7 March 2013). Retrieved from http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2013/03/07/can-photodiode-be-conscious/. Accessed 21 June 2018.
  36. Shannon, C.E. 1948. A mathematical theory of communication. Bell System Technical Journal, 27, (379–423 & 623–656, July & October).Google Scholar
  37. Tononi, G. 2014. (May 30) Why Scott should stare at a blank wall and reconsider (or, the conscious grid) [Web log post]. Retrieved from Shtetl-Optimized, http://scottaaronson.com/blog. Accessed 23 August 2017.
  38. Tononi, G. 2015. Integrated information theory. Scholarpedia, 10(1):4164. http://www.scholarpedia.org/w/index.php?title=Integrated_information_theory&action=cite&rev=147165. Accessed 23 August 2017.
  39. Tononi, G. & Koch, C. 2015. Consciousness: here, there and everywhere? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Philosophical Transactions B.  https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2014.0167

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. John’s UniversityNew York CityUSA

Personalised recommendations