IIT’s Scientific Counter-Revolution: A Neuroscientific Theory’s Physical and Metaphysical Implications
3. Exclusion and Intrinsicality: The Placement Argument and Zombies
3.1. The Placement Argument
The cause-effect structure specified by the system must be definite: it is specified over a single set of elements—neither less nor more—the one over which it is maximally irreducible from its intrinsic perspective (Φmax), thus laying maximal claim to intrinsic existence. 
For example, within ABCDE … many candidate systems could specify cause-effect structures, including AB, AC, BC, ABC, ABCD, ABCDE, and so on. Among these, the system that specifies the cause-effect structure that is maximally irreducible from its own intrinsic perspective is the set of elements ABC, rather than any of its subsets or supersets .
3.2. Classical Zombies in IIT
3.3. Room to Respond
The system must be structured: subsets of the elements constituting the system, composed in various combinations, also have cause-effect power within the system. Thus, if a system ABC is constituted of elements A, B, and C, any subset of elements (its power set), including A, B, C; AB, AC, BC; as well as the entire system, ABC, can compose a mechanism having cause-effect power. Composition allows for elementary (first-order) elements to form distinct higher-order mechanisms, and for multiple mechanisms to form a structure. 
4. Examining IIT Commitments: An Apparent Dilemma and Radical Responses
4.1. Intrinsic Existence and Dispositions
Taken literally, it states that cause-effect power is a necessary condition for the very existence of a system constituted of elements in a state.To account for the intrinsic existence of experience, a system constituted of elements in a state must exist intrinsically (be actual): specifically, in order to exist, it must have cause-effect power, as there is no point in assuming that something exists if nothing can make a difference to it, or if it cannot make a difference to anything. [28,29]
Narrow IE: A system’s existence requires its disposition to causally interact with other things and the existence of at least one other thing with which it can causally interact.
Wide IE: A system’s existence requires its disposition to causally interact with other things. 
4.2. An Apparent Dilemma
4.4. IIT’s Possible Responses
4.4.1. Causal Power over Itself?
4.4.2. The Universe as Extrinsic
18.104.22.168. IIT’s God’s-Eye View
…all the ‘parts’ considered here are required to exist: in phenomenal terms, they are required to exist as components of an experience; in physical terms, they are required to exist as sub-structures of a cause-effect structure. As an example, among all possible distinctions and relations [read: all possible cause-effect structures], only those having maximally irreducible cause-effect power exist in a causal, intrinsic sense, while those that are reducible do not.
From a God’s eye-view, from outside the world, all the features of the world would be intrinsic, including intrinsic relational features such as the feature that people in our culture regard such and such objects as screwdrivers. God could not see screwdrivers, cars, bathtubs, etc., because intrinsically speaking there are no such objects. Rather, God would see us treating certain objects as screwdrivers, cars, bathtubs, etc. .
A way to visualize the meaning of the axioms/postulates is to apply them to an everyday object, such as a light bulb. Existence: The light bulb has cause-effect power (albeit only extrinsically), since one can affect it (screw it in) and it can have effects (produce light). Composition: It is composed of multiple parts (screw base, glass bulb, filament, wire, stem, etc.), all of which have cause-effect power alone or in combination. Information: It is what it is, meaning it has the “form” of a light bulb, thereby differing from a large number of other objects (such as a fan, a chair, a table, a shoe, and so on). Integration: It cannot be subdivided without loss into causally non-interdependent parts (if you split it in two, it will not work). Exclusion: It has borders—it is neither less (just a filament) nor more (a chandelier) than what it is.
Of course, while this analogy may be illuminating, it is also potentially misleading, since a light bulb exists extrinsically (it is an extrinsic “form” in space-time), whereas an experience exists intrinsically (it is an intrinsic “form” in cause-effect space).
22.214.171.124. Extrinsicality and the IIT Literature
We are by now used to considering the universe as a vast empty space that contains enormous conglomerations of mass, charge, and energy—giant bright entities (where brightness reflects energy or mass) from planets to stars to galaxies. In this view (that is, in terms of mass, charge, or energy), each of us constitutes an extremely small, dim portion of what exists—indeed, hardly more than a speck of dust. However, if consciousness (i.e., integrated information) exists as a fundamental property, an equally valid view of the universe is this: a vast empty space that contains mostly nothing, and occasionally just specks of integrated information ([Φ])—mere dust, indeed—even there where the mass-charge–energy perspective reveals huge conglomerates. On the other hand, one small corner of the known universe contains a remarkable concentration of extremely bright entities (where brightness reflects high [Φ]), orders of magnitude brighter than anything around them. Each bright “Φ-star” is the main complex of an individual human being (and most likely, of individual animals). I argue that such Φ-centric view is at least as valid as that of a universe dominated by mass, charge, and energy. In fact, it may be more valid, since to be highly conscious (to have high Φ) implies that there is something it is like to be you, whereas if you just have high mass, charge, or energy, there may be little or nothing it is like to be you. From this standpoint, it would seem that entities with high Φ exist in a stronger sense than entities of high mass.  (emphases added)
Consider representations of the environment first. One might envision that the spatial structure of the external world is the referent of spatial experience, hence topographically mapped cortical areas merely need to ‘represent’ the environment, as sampled through stimulus space, to inherit its spatial structure. However, leaving aside the nature of external space itself, it is not clear how the structure of phenomenal space, as experienced from the intrinsic perspective of our conscious mind, would be inherited from something extrinsic to it. This problem is especially obvious for spatial experiences that occur when we are disconnected from the environment, as when dreaming of the starry sky. If the experience feels spatial, it must feel so because it actually has spatial properties intrinsically, when it is dreamt, and not by inheriting spatial properties from an external environment to which the brain was exposed in the past. Of course, in the course of evolution, development, and learning, causal properties of the environment do mold the neural substrate of spatial experience (see Note 21 in Appendix B) 
Note 21: In this sense, the cause-effect structures specified by neural grids that map visual or somatosensory input should match the causal structure of the environment itself (for example, its ‘smoothness’ 
but at issue is what corresponds to the structure of experience here and now, not how it came about. It should also be clear that stimuli from the environment are not spatially organized in themselves: there is no extendedness, no region or location, no size, boundary or distance in a sensory stimulus unless one presupposes that space already exists intrinsically in the mind of an observer .
126.96.36.199. A Scientific Counter-Revolution?
[The reliance upon] Galileo’s stance of removing subjectivity (mind) from nature in order to describe and understand [has come] come at the cost of ignoring the central aspect of reality from the intrinsic perspective—experience itself .
One learns early on that science consists of objectively explaining objective properties. This notion has been a cornerstone of the scientific method since Galilei, who purposefully set aside subjective properties—the way things feel to a subject—as outside the purview of science .
In this view, only functions matter since they can be studied objectively by independent observers. This attitude is widespread … and seemingly justified by the Galilean notion of science as the objective investigation of objective properties. Anything beyond function has been considered inexistent…, illusory,…or irredeemably phenomenal—that is, subjective—and thereby outside the scope of science .
4.4.3. Resolving an Apparent Inconsistency: A Speculation
Of course, in the course of evolution, development, and learning, causal properties of the environment do mold the neural substrate of spatial experience (see Note 21 in Appendix B)  (Section 4.8)
Note 21: In this sense, the cause-effect structures specified by neural grids that map visual or somatosensory input should match the causal structure of the environment itself (for example, its ‘smoothness’  (Appendix B)
5. Back to Basics: Another Apparent Dilemma and More Radical Responses
5.1. Another Apparent Dilemma
5.2. Basic Units and Cause-Effect Power
5.2.1. Basic Units, Cause-Effect Power, and Intrinsicality
A minimal system consisting of two interconnected neurons satisfies the criterion of intrinsic existence because, through their reciprocal interactions, the system can make a difference to itself.
5.2.2. Naming Basic Units on IIT
5.2.3. IB Units and Electrons
5.3. Alone Again
Consider an IB that has no other things with which to interact either because there are no other things in existence or because they are too far away to permit causal interaction even at the speed of light. Given this condition and the laws of physics as we know them, there is no sense in which the IB can make a physical difference to anything else that exists because nothing else exists, or at least nothing else exists that is sufficiently close. In this sense, our IB is such that “nothing can make a difference to it” and “it cannot make a difference to anything.”
5.4.1. From IB Units and the Universe…
If this is so, then it hard to see how electrons can be IBs. This by itself is not damning of course, but their broader point is even more serious, because it concerns MICE systems generally.In physics an individual dynamic unit U has no direct influence on itself, only on non-U. The negative charge of an electron does not repel itself.
At the root of the problem is the intuition, shared by Descartes (1641), Leibniz (1714), James (1890), and other metaphysicians that there is no such thing as a point of view from A+B, if A and B are discrete dynamic units—which they must be if there are causal relations between them. This intuition relates to the physicist’s law of locality. Detailed formulation of the law has changed as physics has evolved. However, the primary requirement, more fundamental even than limiting propagation of causation to the speed of light, is that every causal relation (such as a billiard ball collision) has a specific address in a network of relations evolving in space-time.
5.4.2. To Neuroscience and Everything
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
References and Notes
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- Furthermore, this stance seems to admit that IIT’s concept of actual existence is not intrinsic. After all, whether a system has actual existence appears to depend on that system’s relations to external things. In short, the Placement Argument could be refitted to conclude that existence, instead of consciousness, is not intrinsic.
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- Van Stekelenburg and Edwards consistently use the label “dynamic unit,” but the way they claim these need to be specified at least stands in tension with the way Mandelblit and Zachar (, p. 230) define “dynamic unit”: “As our analysis suggests, the traditional unit of analysis, in each domain of thought in cognitive science, has been a rigid, locally integrated unit with clear boundaries, whose definition is based on properties inherent to the unit per se. In contrast, the novel unit of analysis is more flexible, context-dependent, and has fuzzier boundaries based on a general pattern of correlation across its elements. Under different environmental set-ups, different patterns of correlation may occur, thereby delineating different units. It is in this sense that we characterize the novel unit of analysis as dynamic. In the strongest form of this view, it is meaningless to define a unit unless a specific context is given. The Dynamic Unit (unlike a traditional unit) also has emergent properties which are not present in the substrate from which the unit is formed. These novel properties emerge as a result of the correlated behavior across the unit’s constituents, and are reflected in the interaction of the dynamic unit with its environment.
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Fallon, F.; Blackmon, J.C. IIT’s Scientific Counter-Revolution: A Neuroscientific Theory’s Physical and Metaphysical Implications. Entropy 2021, 23, 942. https://doi.org/10.3390/e23080942
Fallon F, Blackmon JC. IIT’s Scientific Counter-Revolution: A Neuroscientific Theory’s Physical and Metaphysical Implications. Entropy. 2021; 23(8):942. https://doi.org/10.3390/e23080942Chicago/Turabian Style
Fallon, Francis, and James C. Blackmon. 2021. "IIT’s Scientific Counter-Revolution: A Neuroscientific Theory’s Physical and Metaphysical Implications" Entropy 23, no. 8: 942. https://doi.org/10.3390/e23080942