Scientific American article on IIT

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This article is quite old (2015) but it is interesting because it questions Integrated Information Theory. The author is John Horgan of end of science fame.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cro...ciousness/

I didn't even know Scientific American had blogs!

Anyway, it is definitely worth reading, even without understanding IIT - which seems remarkably dense.

Also it would seem that someone has devised a simple 2D grid of XOR gates that could have arbitrarily high phi - and is being touted as a counter example to the whole theory.

David
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(2021-09-19, 09:09 PM)David001 Wrote: Also it would seem that someone has devised a simple 2D grid of XOR gates that could have arbitrarily high phi - and is being touted as a counter example to the whole theory.

The thing I don't get about IIT is why it cannot simply be a measure rather than explanation?

I'm ok with this idea of consciousness being modeled to some degree within the context of quantitative measurement as "Information" but how does that connect back to the "Information" of everyday experience?

It just seems to presume the quantitative produces the qualitative - as per the C.S. Lewis quote:

[it] has even come to be taken for granted that the external account of a thing somehow "debunks" the account given from the inside. "All these moral ideals which look so transcendental and beautiful from the inside," says the wiseacre, "are really only a mass of biological instincts and inherited taboos."

And no one plays the game the other way round by replying, "If you will only step inside, the things that look to you like instincts and taboos will suddenly reveal their real and transcendental nature."
~ C.S. Lewis
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2021-09-24, 08:51 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: The thing I don't get about IIT is why it cannot simply be a measure rather than explanation?
Yes, it sounds rather like hunting for prime numbers, or something rather more exotic and therefore rarer. However anything like that isn't physical at all - it is an idea that exists for ever.

Here you will find a list of axioms for IIT:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated...ion_theory

They seem rather odd to be axioms for anything - what do you think?
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That wiki list of axioms is just a descriptive list, isn't it.  It surely can't tell us anything about how consciousness actually arises; I don't even think the question is approachable. You start off with brain cells exchanging chemicals and a bit of electricity, cells which are hardly much different from the cells in your kneecap for instance, and then "puff" like magic, the human mind emerges. It's nothing less impossible than pulling a rabbit out of a hat (without sleight of hand of course)

However, if you drop the idea that the brain produces consciousness and substitute that for the brain receives consciousness, although you haven't solved the problem, at least you don't have to waste time looking for it in the wrong place. 

I suspect dogmatic materialist neuroscientists will never stop looking for it in the brain under the saving grace of complexity; promissory complexity.
(This post was last modified: 2021-09-25, 05:55 PM by tim.)
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(2021-09-25, 05:54 PM)tim Wrote: That wiki list of axioms is just a descriptive list, isn't it.  It surely can't tell us anything about how consciousness actually arises; I don't even think the question is approachable. You start off with brain cells exchanging chemicals and a bit of electricity, cells which are hardly much different from the cells in your kneecap for instance, and then "puff" like magic, the human mind emerges. It's nothing less impossible than pulling a rabbit out of a hat (without sleight of hand of course)

However, if you drop the idea that the brain produces consciousness and substitute that for the brain receives consciousness, although you haven't solved the problem, at least you don't have to waste time looking for it in the wrong place. 

I suspect dogmatic materialist neuroscientists will never stop looking for it in the brain under the saving grace of complexity; promissory complexity.

Well I read Koch's book, and got really stumped on Chapter 8 - his axioms looked remarkably similar to the ones I showed you. I mean yes, it is crazy to even try to reduce the definition of consciousness to a set of axioms.

I mean it irritates me because I feel it was basically an attempt to ward off the non-materialists by confronting them with a chunk of maths to hide the same old problems.

The other thing that his book does, is to carefully avoid mentioning any seemingly paranormal evidence - which just seems silly at this stage in the game.
(This post was last modified: 2021-09-25, 08:49 PM by David001.)
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(2021-09-25, 08:31 PM)David001 Wrote: Well I read Koch's book, and got really stumped on Chapter 8 - his axioms looked remarkably similar to the ones I showed you. I mean yes, it is crazy to even try to reduce the definition of consciousness to a set of axioms.

I mean it irritates me because I feel it was basically an attempt to ward off the non-materialists by confronting them with a chunk of maths to hide the same old problems.

The other thing that his book does, is to carefully avoid mentioning any seemingly paranormal evidence - which just seems silly at this stage in the game.

Agreed. I haven't read Koch's book, you're more adventurous than me. Sam Parnia told of a young Japanese woman who was dead for many hours; she was a cold corpse, basically. In Japan they routinely utilise ECMO machines (Extra corporeal membrane oxygenation) and even though they didn't hold out much hope, they eventually (unexpectedly) managed to bring her back to life (over here she would have been delivered to the undertakers)

She came back with her personality intact and walked out of the hospital two weeks later. If brain cells somehow "excrete" our minds in cooperation with each other (our self, soul whatever) there surely must be some unique indestructible pattern inherent in the brain at large, which automatically enables the reassembly of the mind from the product of the billions of cells (that started to function again in this woman's brain) that are supposed to create it. But if you think about that, there isn't any pattern (on pilot light) anywhere in the brain or if there is, neuroscientists haven't mentioned it (?). 

How did her mind with her memories etc all come back exactly the way it was. It couldn't have been 'hanging out' in her brain cells for eight hours with no blood/oxygen supply. Even if one was to postulate that brain cells automatically create minds (that would be a giant leap of course), her old mind with her memories should have been gone, surely.

It looks ever more like the mind, the self, soul, call it whatever you like, is indestructible. Parnia's work seems to be pointing to this more and more. And yet neuroscientists seem to ignoring it and pressing on regardless. Maybe my take on this is too simplistic.
(This post was last modified: 2021-09-26, 12:12 PM by tim.)
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Well, playing devil's advocate, a computer can be powered down, batteries removed and left for days. But power it up again, the same system reappears, same home screen, data files, programs. I guess that is how physicalists argue this stuff. The real problem is that there's no way to get from matter to consciousness - unless computer hardware/software is also assumed to be conscious. But as I've said before, follow that route and even a mechanical wind-up alarm clock is conscious, it has hardware and can be programmed - in a basic way. Down that road lies madness.
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(2021-09-26, 12:28 PM)Typoz Wrote: Well, playing devil's advocate, a computer can be powered down, batteries removed and left for days. But power it up again, the same system reappears, same home screen, data files, programs. I guess that is how physicalists argue this stuff. The real problem is that there's no way to get from matter to consciousness - unless computer hardware/software is also assumed to be conscious. But as I've said before, follow that route and even a mechanical wind-up alarm clock is conscious, it has hardware and can be programmed - in a basic way. Down that road lies madness.

Yes but doesn't the computer have predictable circuits which can do nothing else but produce what they were intended to ? 
The brain however, even though it has partitions in it (lobes) is just a mass of the same stuff, protoplasm (jelly) there's no wiring in there, although you see diagrams purporting to show that. If you 'saw' through it (section) you just see cells and more cells. Where is the blueprint for each of our individual minds?
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I don't think we know enough about the brain to say in confidence whether or not someone 'dying' and coming back without any hassle is a miraculous feat or not. For all we know, she just got lucky. Better to stick with the things that current science has difficulty explaining than ones where you can kind of paint an idea in your head of how it happened.
(2021-09-28, 07:17 AM)Smaw Wrote: I don't think we know enough about the brain to say in confidence whether or not someone 'dying' and coming back without any hassle is a miraculous feat or not. For all we know, she just got lucky. Better to stick with the things that current science has difficulty explaining than ones where you can kind of paint an idea in your head of how it happened.

It's not just the dying and coming back biologically, though, it's the reappearance of the mind in all it's complexity, exactly as it was before, after hours of being 'gone', at least from a materialist position. The brain cells gradually began to fire again when her blood flow was restored but for the previous hours, that mind was lost (at least from a materialist perspective)

Neurologist experts (who obviously know much more than me a layperson) tell us that the mind is the product of tens of billions of neurons all connected in billions of ways, constantly firing the mind into existence. So when the firing stops, the fire/mind goes out.

How then can it be recreated exactly as it was before, after many hours of being absent or even in the best case mere 'embers', one might say? Must there not be some overarching blueprint (pattern) that the cells follow to achieve exactly the same personality, once again? Where is this blueprint. Even if you want to postulate that brain cells automatically produce minds, why would they produce one exactly the same? 

However, if you can allow that the mind is irreducible, then the brain doesn't have to recreate anything, it's already there waiting somewhere.
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