Ellia, F., & Chis-Ciure, R. (2022). Consciousness and complexity: Neurobiological naturalism and integrated information theory. Consciousness and Cognition, 100. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2022.103281
[Abstract]In this paper we take a meta-theoretical stance and aim to compare and assess two conceptual frameworks that endeavor to explain phenomenal experience. In particular, we compare Feinberg & Mallatt’s Neurobiological Naturalism (NN) and Tononi’s and colleagues Integrated Information Theory (IIT), given that the former pointed out some similarities between the two theories (Feinberg & Mallatt 2016c-d). To probe their similarity, we first give a general introduction into both frameworks. Next, we expound a ground-plan for carrying out our analysis. We move on to articulate a philosophical profile of NN and IIT, addressing their ontological commitments and epistemological foundations. Finally, we compare the two point-by-point, also discussing how they stand on the issue of artificial consciousness.
[Citing Place (1956)]  
Citing Place (1956) in context (citations start with an asterisk *):
Section 4. Discussion
Subsection 4.1 IIT’s Ontology and Epistemology
* Ontology. As stated above, IIT proponents take consciousness to be ontologically basic, in the sense that it exists fundamentally. Moreover, IIT holds that every experience is identical with a CES [Maximally Irreducible Cause-Effect Structure] or quale specified by a system in a state. Note from the start that the identity is not between experience and the physical substrate of consciousness, so IIT does not collapse into standard identity theories of consciousness (e.g., Place 1956). Rather, the identity is between experience and the CES specified by that system. Importantly, the irreducibility of the CES should not be taken as our epistemic inability to further partition the system into subsystems without loss of information, but as a genuine feature of reality. Hence, integrated information reflects the ontological nature of a system in a state rather than just our ability to learn about it. The CES is structured according to the causal distinctions and relations that compose it.