henry copeland:

Pooled consciousness? No...

‘Take a sentence of a dozen words, and take twelve men and tell to each one word. Then stand the men in a row or jam them in a bunch, and let each think of his word as intently as he will; nowhere will there be a consciousness of the whole sentence’. This is how William James illustrated the combination problem of panpsychism [110]. Or take John Searle: ‘Consciousness cannot spread over the universe like a thin veneer of jam; there has to be a point where my consciousness ends and yours begins’ [117]. Indeed, if consciousness is everywhere, why should it not animate the United States of America? IIT deals squarely with this problem by stating that only maxima of integrated information exist. Consider two people talking: within each brain, there will be a major complex—a set of neurons that form a maximally irreducible cause–effect structure with definite borders and a high value of Φmax. Now let the two speak together. They will now form a system that is also irreducible (Φ > zero) due to their interactions. However, it is not maximally irreducible, since its value of integrated information will be much less than that of each of the two major complexes it contains. According to IIT, there should indeed be two separate experiences, but no superordinate conscious entity that is the union of the two. In other words, there is nothing-it-is-like-to-be two people, let alone the 300 plus million citizens making up the USA.13
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