Facing up to the Hard Problem of Consciousness as an Integrated Information Theorist

Foundations of Science 1 (2021)
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Abstract

In this paper we provide a philosophical analysis of the Hard Problem of consciousness and the implications of conceivability scenarios for current neuroscientific research. In particular, we focus on one of the most prominent neuroscientific theories of consciousness, integrated information theory. After a brief introduction on IIT, we present Chalmers’ original formulation and propose our own layered view of the hard problem, showing how 2 separate issues can be distinguished. More specifically, we argue that it’s possible to disentangle a core problem of consciousness from a layered hard problem, the latter being essentially connected to Chalmers’ conceivability argument. We then assess the relation between the Hard Problem and IIT, showing how the theory resists conceivability scenarios, and how it is equipped to face up to the hard problem in its broadest acceptation.

Author Profiles

Robert Chis-Ciure
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Francesco Ellia
University of Bologna

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