Questioning Tononi’s “Information Integration” Theory of Consciousness
Gerard Marx1* and Chaim Gilon2
1MX Biotech Ltd., Jerusalem, Israel
2Institute of Chemistry, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
*Corresponding Author: Gerard Marx, MX Biotech Ltd., Jerusalem, Israel.
February 08, 2023; Published: May 16, 2023
The ambition of modern neuroscientists is to analyze natural phenomena with testable/observable descriptions. But the biologic phenomenon of “consciousness” is overlooked by physicists as it cannot be objectively measured/observed. Computer scientists suggest “demotive” binary algorithms, that are inadequate to code for emotive states.
Tononi, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, presents a Manifesto that consciousness corresponds to the capacity of a system to integrate information.
Consciousness is characterized here as a disposition or potentiality – in this case as the potential differentiation of a system's responses to all possible perturbations.
We are puzzled by Tononi’s lack of definitions and pose 4 questions:
Q 1: What does “effective information” mean?
Q 2: What defines “Quality”?
Q 3: What is the physicality of Tononi’s “neural substrate”?
Q 4: How is the “quality” of information determined?
Mind and body are a complex unity where psyche emerges from the physiology and chemistry of an ensemble of specialized cells. In line with Tononi’s Manifesto, we agree that consciousness is an integrated process where sensate information is merged into experience, remembered as memory. But we modify the vagary of Tononi’s Manifesto by re-casting “information” as “cognitive information”, imbued with emotive qualities encoded by neurotransmitters (NTs). We refer the reader to our previously published description of the tripartite mechanism of emotive memory [1-7].
Bottom Line: Causative explanations of memory and consciousness are not served by simply calling on an “integration” process. Rather, they require a recognition of the interplay between the physiology of neural circuits and entangled biochemical processes.
Keywords: Cognitive Information; Memory; Emotion; Metal Complex; Neurotransmitter
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