Dear Lee,


----- Original Message ----- From: "Lee Corbin" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Wednesday, April 27, 2005 11:00 PM
Subject: RE: many worlds theory of immortality: May only be the Anthropic Principle

Stephen writes

you seem to be making a case of the Anthropic Principle,
but I am not sure if this is your intension. (I am
ignoring my own allergy to the idea that 1st person aspects
can be faithfully represented by Turing algorithms.)

Well, I myself had no clue that these ideas could be connected to the Anthropic Principle.



You wrote "...the vast winnowing of branches that people find themselves
in..." Isn't this exactly what we would expect if we assume that any slice
of the Multiverse that an observer finds itself in will be restricted to
necessarily allowing for some measure of "being alive" such that a
meaningful notion of "observation" can obtain? [Are we inadvertently
assuming some kind of "outside of the multiverse" point of view to define
Could you possibly expand on this notion?  Maybe with shorter
sentences?  :-)   As for me, trying to keep the ideas simple,
I often read in literature how some character is surprised to
find himself alive. There have been parallels (perhaps weak
ones) in my own life where I am surprised to find myself still


I will try, but as often is the case these ideas are not easily explained in small sound byte size morsels, especially by someone like myself that is dislexic. ;-)

There are, at least, two seperate issues here: the multiplicity of relative states of an observer and the notion of continuity of the 1st person aspect (subjective experience), i.e., that for any given notion of an observer and the possible choices that they could make of that causally impact upon them there exists one universe within which that observer could find itself. The former is easily seen to follow the notion that any universe that an observer finds itself "in" will have conditions that, at least, allow for the existence of that observer. This, for example, would exclude universes that do not have some form of gravity that would give rise to stars, planets, etc.
The latter notion is not very obvious and as Bruno has pointed out we have strong reasons to believe that the 1st person aspect is not reducible to some 3rd person aspect. As an aside, I do believe that the converse is the case: any 3rd person aspect can be constructed from 1st person aspects. Another way of putting the second notion out there is to refere to the rubric, whose origin escapes me, "I am what I remember myself to be".

It hasn't occurred to me that this warrants any revision, but
I guess the adherents of the strong no-cul-de-sac theory should
be incapable of being surprised that they were still alive. I
can just hear them saying to themselves "Well, OF COURSE I'm
still alive...what else could I expect?  To find myself dead?


If the observer is incapable of making an observation of a given universe, it easily follows that there is some strong reason why. One simple reason could be that that observer can not have any 1st person aspects consistent with that particular universe. To say that one is dead in such and such a universe is the same thing, unless we are going to postulate some kind of disembodied "consciousness", like a self-aware ghost.

The idea of immortality seems to assume some means by which a given
observer's 1st person aspect can be continuously traced through the
Multiverse. Right? Would not such a "trace" obey topological rules such as
not allowing for the 1st person awareness of the effects of "cutting",
"pasting", "tearing" and other kinds of topological surgery?
I'm not sure that I follow. It seems to me that I experience a
certain (probably mundane) discontinuity when I sleep and then
wake. Other people, especially amnesiacs, or those involved in
very severe injuries to the head, report discontinuities. Later
on, if/when we have "learning pills", one might suddenly remember
that he knew French. Since it's not so difficult to imagine this,
it seems to me that all of the kinds of surgery you list above
can be experienced.


Again, this is captures by: I am what I remember myself to be", or in Vaughan Pratt's terms: "I think, therefore I was".

Would these global rules not fall under the AP as well or is
this outside of the AP?
Perhaps you should also expand on the Anthropic Principle. I'm
very hazy on it. The Weak anthropic principle seemed only to be
common sense, and the Strong and Final forms, as I recall, were
pretty dubious so far as I was concerned.




I am dubious about the restriction to "carbon-based" and frame the AP in generic terms that only assume that some kind of 1st person aspect exists such that the notion of an "Observer" has meaning: An observer will only have 1st person experiences of universes that allow for their existence." I find that the notion of "fine-tuning" is as silly as assuming that the nose on my face was formed over the millennia by forces, random and/or otherwise to allow for my spectacles to fit on them. Instead, we find ourselves in a universe that has the particular properties and values of constants because it is within such a universe that we, as observers, evolved.
The notion of prior measures of universes seems to necessitate some form of an Observer that exists "outside" of the powerset of universes, U, such that It can compare one subset of U to another. Is this not a sorry throwback to deistic thinking and is self-stultifying, since it assumes that observers can exists that have no universe within which to evolve?
The same contradiction follow the notion of a "block universe", where it is assumed that space-time is much like a fish bowl that some Observer may perceive "all at once".


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