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Imagining The Fourth Dimension

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Integrated Information Theory-put forth by neuroscientists Giulio Tononi and Christof Koch-is a new framework that describes a way to experimentally measure the extent to which a system is conscious.

Integrated Information Theory, which has become quite a hot topic in contemporary neuroscience, claims to provide a precise way to measure consciousness and express the phenomenon in purely mathematical terms.

To measure the degree of integration, Tononi has taken mathematical principles formulated by American engineer Claude Shannon, who developed a scientific theory of information midway through the 20th century to describe data transmission, and applied them to the brain.

The brain stores and processes information, but how and why that information takes on the characteristic of “Feeling like something” is left unexplained.

IIT tells us how to measure the degree of consciousness, but does not tell us how different types of information acquire different subjective sensations, like the feel of a burning flame or an orgasm.

So how do proponents of Integrated Information Theory attempt to explain subjective experience?

So far Integrated Information Theory is the best candidate for a scientific doctrine that provides an objective description of consciousness.


Article originally posted at

Post Author: Toni Feder

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