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Integrated Information Theory A Promising but Ultimately Incomplete Theory of Consciousness

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Tononi has proposed a fundamental theory of consciousness he terms Integrated Information Theory (IIT). IIT purports to explain the quantity of conscious experience by linking it with integrated information: information shared by the system as a whole and quantified by adopting a modified version of Shannon's definition of information. Since the fundamental aspect of IIT is information the theory allows for the multiple realizability of consciousness. While there are several concepts within IIT that need further theoretical development, the main failings of the theory are an absence of a link between conscious experience and awareness and the use of Shannon's limited data based definition of information. These limitations prevent the theory from satisfying Chalmers' principles of structural coherence and organizational invariance which any functionalist theory should obey. It is not clear whether IIT can be repaired without simply reducing the theory to a general statement of computational functionalism.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati COM, 260 Stetson Street, Suite 3200, Email:

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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