This makes our own self-awareness a circular object: its causes
only exist when we already admit to its existence.

No.  Logically, for any A, the cause of A must PRECEDE A's existence. 
Here, I use the word "precede' to describe a logical and not necessarily
a temporal relation. But a human's self-awareness is generated by a
physical system, a brain, which is a macroscopic object inhabiting a
quasi-classical physical domain where there is a well-defined time
direction.  So in this particular case, "precede' ALSO has a
well-defined temporal sense.

But isn't a tenet of the larger discussion that existence itself
a similarly circular business: universes exist because beings
within them perceive them.  But those beings exist only if
you admit the existence of the universes that contain them.

This is Wheeler's "self-excited circuit" nonsense.  Universes exist
because of physical laws that have nothing whatever to do with
self-aware systems.  Self-aware systems are particular CONSEQUENCES of
physical law, not vice-versa.    One great virtue of Everett's original
relative state formulation was that it was able to assert this in a very
clean way and give an explicit understanding of why "measurements" on
quantum systems show the particular patterns they do to physical
recording devices necessarily embedded within the universal wave
function.  Your claims would (a) effectively return us to Bohr's
Copenhagen nuttiness and (b) imply some type of primacy of consciousness
metaphysics.  How, for example, would you reconcile the origin of our
local, observable universe some 13 billion years ago with the fact that
consciousness did not evolve until a much later time?

Works for me.

I'm puzzled.  Please explain how.

Steve Price, MD

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