Séminaire DIC-ISC-CRIA – 7 décembre 2023 par Jake HANSON

Jake HANSON – 7 décembre 2023

Titre : Falsification of the Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness

Résumé :

Integrated Information Theory is a prominent theory of consciousness in contemporary neuroscience, based on the premise that feedback, quantified by a mathematical measure called Phi, corresponds to subjective experience. A straightforward application of the mathematical definition of Phi fails to produce a unique solution due to unresolved degeneracies inherent in the theory. This undermines nearly all published Phi values to date. In the mathematical relationship between feedback and input-output behavior in finite-state systems automata theory shows that feedback can always be disentangled from a system's input-output behavior, resulting in Phi=0 for all possible input-output behaviors. This process, known as "unfolding," can be accomplished without increasing the system's size, leading to the conclusion that Phi measures something fundamentally disconnected from what could ground the theory experimentally. These findings demonstrate that IIT lacks a well-defined mathematical framework and may either be already falsified or inherently unfalsifiable according to scientific standards.

Bio :

Jake HANSON is a Senior Data Scientist at a financial tech company in Salt Lake City, Utah. His doctoral research in Astrophysics from Arizona State University focused on the origin of life via the relationship between information processing and fundamental physics. He demonstrated that there were multiple foundational issues with IIT, ranging from poorly defined mathematics to problems with experimental falsifiability and pseudoscientific handling of core ideas. 


Hanson, J.R., & Walker, S.I. (2019). Integrated information theory and isomorphic feed-forward philosophical zombies. Entropy, 21.11, 1073.

Hanson, J.R., & Walker, S.I. (2021). Formalizing falsification for theories of consciousness across computational hierarchies. Neuroscience of Consciousness, 2021.2, niab014.

Hanson, J.R., & Walker, S.I. (2021). Falsification of the Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness. Diss. Arizona State University, 2021.

Hanson, J.R., & Walker, S.I. (2023). On the non-uniqueness problem in Integrated Information Theory. Neuroscience of Consciousness, 2023.1, niad014.