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I have been studying Giulio Tononi's Integrated Information Theory, and there he mentions 5 characteristics of human conscious experience (source: http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Integrated_information_theory):

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One of the 5 characteristics is that human conscious experience is structured: each experience is composed of multiple phenomenological distinctions, elementary or higher-order. For example, within one experience I may distinguish a book, a blue color, a blue book, the left side, a blue book on the left, and so on.

Now my question is, does the fact that human conscious experience is structured provide strong evidence that all conscious experiences require structured physical systems?

The argument for my claim goes as follows: suppose that there are two possibilities-

  1. consciousness can arise from any physical system, structured or unstructured
  2. consciousness can only arise from structured physical systems

Because there are many more unstructured systems in the universe than structured systems, thus with high probability we would expect our conscious experience to be unstructured.

But since our conscious experience is in fact highly structured, thus by the Anthropic Principle it much likely that consciousness requires a structured system rather than merely an unstructured system.

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    $\begingroup$ Though this is more of a philosophical question than psychology, it is within scope as philosophy of mind. However, I'm concerned that the question "does the fact that human conscious experience is structured provide strong evidence that all conscious experiences require structured physical systems?" will attract opinion-based answers. As IIT may have other motivations for structured systems, I recommend instead something more like: "What reasons motivate IIT's requirement of a structured system for consciousness?" $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Nov 20, 2023 at 18:09

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In the context of the IIT framework, that human conscious experience is structured, is an axiom, not a fact.

Going forward, they then assume that this aspect of conscious experience (structure) must arise from an underlying physical system; they somehow assume that there exists a physical counterpart of this aspect (axiom) of conscious experience.

Since they then assume that a cause and effect relationship exists between these two systems, it follows that the physical counterpart must be structured too; it's part of their postulates.

Note though, that this is a theoretical framework, based on assumptions and axioms, it's not fact.

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