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Taking Time Seriously in Tononi's Integrated Information Theory

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Integrated information theory is an increasingly accepted and powerful theory of consciousness. IIT has faced some criticism, however, particularly with respect to the exclusion principle that is the theory's solution to the 'boundary problem': how is the boundary for any particular conscious entity drawn in each moment? I propose an alternative approach to the exclusion principle. Based on the passage of time that constitutes our normal first-person experience, I suggest that a 'time axiom' should be added to IIT, with an accompanying postulate and proposed mechanism, mirroring the conceptual structure of IIT. The approach to time that I suggest follows the 'process time' of Whitehead's process philosophy. The suggested time axiom replaces the current 'exclusion axiom' and related postulate and mechanism that IIT currently employs. Under the proposed time mechanism, constituents that resonate together can under the right conditions bind together into a higher-level consciousness. This substitution is one approach for resolving the various problems presented by Tononi's exclusion principle.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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