I'm trying to understand Searle's reply to Tononi and Koch's objections to Searle's characterization of their Intergrated Information Theory (IIT) of consciousness.

Although I do understand why IIT is problematic, both from Searle's original review and from Thagard's alternative proposal, I don't understand his reply.

Specifically, what does Searle mean by IIT being "unmotivated"?


1 Answer 1


I suspect that the reason he considers it unmotivated is that he would like to see a theory that can explain the hard problem(s) of consciousness. In that final paragraph where he argues that the theory is unmotivated, he points out that (in his opinion) IIT seems to do nothing to explain why there is something it is like to be conscious from a subjective viewpoint (i.e., qualia).

My two cents is that I can see Searle's point; it is not clear how IIT would explain these aspects even if it is otherwise completely successful. On the other hand, calling it "unmotivated" seems a bit unfair; perhaps it would still be useful for other purposes, for example judging whether patients in a hospital are (likely to be) conscious. A more reasonable claim would be that it is not well motivated by trying to resolve the hard problems of consciousness, but may be well motivated by other goals.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.