These century-old arguments bring me to the conceptual framework of the integrated information theory (IIT) of psychiatrist and neuroscientist Giulio Tononi of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. It postulates that conscious experience is a fundamental aspect of reality and is identical to a particular type of information—integrated information. Consciousness depends on a physical substrate but is not reducible to it. That is, my experience of seeing an aquamarine blue is inexorably linked to my brain but is different from my brain.
An interesting piece by Christof Koch on the integrated information theory of consciousness and the resulting possibilities for panpyschism.
Peter Hankins also has an interesting post reviewing Koch’s piece, which is very much worth reading.
While I once found the information integration theory of consciousness interesting, after reading about Michael Graziano’s attention schema theory, that consciousness is the brain modeling its own attentional state, I have to say that the flaws of of IIT and similar theories now seem profoundly glaring to me.
If your theory requires ascribing consciousness to things like the internet, which demonstrate zero evidence of it, it seems like that theory is incomplete. When that theory can be used to justify panpsychism, you’ve redefined consciousness into something different than what most people mean when they use that word.
- Is Consciousness Universal? (sorendreier.com)
- Panpsychism And The Universality of Consciousness (disinfo.com)
- Bad Philosophy in Scientific American: Why Life Does Not Really Exist! (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
- (Consciousness) The Neuroscientist Version (umichhon352fall13.wordpress.com)
- How Consciousness Arises From Networks (disinfo.com)