Integrated Information Theory: an Empirically Testable Solution to the Mind-Body Problem

Ellia, Francesco (2021) Integrated Information Theory: an Empirically Testable Solution to the Mind-Body Problem, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Philosophy, science, cognition, and semiotics (pscs), 33 Ciclo.
Documenti full-text disponibili:
[img] Documento PDF (English) - Accesso riservato fino a 1 Settembre 2024 - Richiede un lettore di PDF come Xpdf o Adobe Acrobat Reader
Disponibile con Licenza: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) .
Download (1MB) | Contatta l'autore


The purpose of this dissertation is to show that consciousness can be studied scientifically and to illustrate a possible way to do it. In particular, I aim to show how Integrated Information Theory (IIT) can provide an empirically testable solution to the mind-body problem. In the first chapter, I introduce the mind-body problem, as the general problem of how mind and matter are related, and the hard problem, as the more specific problem of explaining how consciousness arises from matter. I then proceed to illustrate the terminology and work definitions that I will employ throughout the entire work. In the second chapter, I look at the mind-body problem from a historical perspective. In particular, I go through Galileo’s influential distinction between primary properties and secondary qualities that can be found in his The Assayer. In particular, I argue that what alienates consciousness from objective science is the ill conceptualization of the primary-properties and secondary-qualities distinction. In the next chapter, I illustrate IIT and its axiomatic approach. After an overview of IIT, I discuss what can be called the ‘core’ of the theory: its axioms, its postulates, and its fundamental identity, and I discuss its explanatory structure. Finally, in the last chapter, I engage with the unfolding argument, which has been presented recently as a confutation of IIT. In my analysis, I show how the unfolding argument presents several criticalities. In particular, I argue that the unfolding argument commits to a radical version of functionalism that is unfit to deal with the challenges posed by assessing consciousness in a clinical context. Finally, I show how the notion of science implied by the proponents of the unfolding argument is too strict to be useful to any analysis and it does not consider the debate on the demarcation problem in philosophy of science.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Ellia, Francesco
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Consciousness, Experience, Subjectivity, Scientific Study of Consciousness, Integrated Information Theory, Mind-Body Problem, Hard Problem, Unfolding Argument, Axiomatic Approach, Metaphysics of Science.
Data di discussione
18 Ottobre 2021

Altri metadati

Gestione del documento: Visualizza la tesi