In search of lost time: Integrated information theory needs constraints from temporal phenomenology


Integrated information theory

How to Cite

Singhal, I., Mudumba, R., & Srinivasan, N. (2022). In search of lost time: Integrated information theory needs constraints from temporal phenomenology. Philosophy and the Mind Sciences, 3.


Integrated information theory (IIT) of consciousness proposes an identity between its causal structure and phenomenology. Through this assertion, IIT aims to explain consciousness by prioritizing first-person experience. However, despite its phenomenology-first stance, developments in IIT have overlooked temporality. As such, we argue that at present IIT’s phenomenological analysis is incomplete. In this critique, we show how IIT takes a non-identical illusionist stance towards the experiences of continuity, flow, and extent of our experiences. Moreover, in isolating temporal grains of experience to a single timescale, IIT misses out on capturing the multi-scale nested nature of temporal phenomena. Hence, we contend that IIT needs an axiom for time, through which its causal structure can be refined to account for temporal experiences. Here, we propose an axiom to address these concerns. We conclude by discussing how IIT may need to be revised if our concerns hold true.


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Copyright (c) 2022 Ishan Singhal, Ramya Mudumba, Narayanan Srinivasan