Psychology Today: Latest new theory of consciousness
|October 12, 2016||Posted by News under Mind, Neuroscience, News|
From neuroscience PhD student Joel Frohlich at Psychology Today:
While it is impossible to ever truly breach this epistemological hurdle, most of us operate on the assumption that other minds exist and individuals with behavior similar to our own experience the world as we do. Accepting this axiom, meaningful questions may be asked: Which brain architectures best support consciousness? Why does consciousness feel like “one thing” despite containing so much information? Why does consciousness vanish during seizures? Why do cerebellar lesions minimally impact consciousness?
Neuroscientist Giulio Tononi has developed a system to answer these questions using the framework of information theory. In this context, information is a reduction in uncertainty, as in knowing the value of a variable with many possible states. Tononi’s theory, known as Integrated Information Theory (IIT), describes consciousness as information integrated across a highly differentiated system that cannot be reduced to constituent parts. The cerebral cortex has a vast capacity to both integrate and differentiate information, making its architecture optimal for consciousness. This balance between integration and differentiation is known as phi, a quantity which may one day be used to estimate the consciousness of a brain or other network.More.
So consciousness is irreducibly complex but we can’t admit that? How does calling it “phi” help?
Naturalist theories of consciousness tend to have a short shelf life. Give this one another five years.
See also: New Scientist: Consciousness is maybe a trick of the mind
Would we give up naturalism to solve the hard problem of consciousness?
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