Charles wrote:

> > [Stephen]
> > The perpetual question I have (about the epiphenomena problem that
> > any form of Idealism has), regarding this notion of a Platonic
> > Reality, is that IF all possible Forms of existence *exist* a
> > priori - "from the beginning" - what necessitates any form of 1st
> > person experience of a world that "evolves", has an irreversible
> > arrow of time, etc. It seems to me that Plato's Ideal is the
> > ultimate case of a system in thermodynamic equilibrium,
> > and as such exhibits no change of any kind, per definition. What
> > then is the origin of, at least, the illusion of change?
> >
> [Charles]
> I suspect the answer is that only beings which inhabit such a world
> are capable of 1st person experience. It's hard to imagine (a) what
> 1st person experience would mean for a being which didn't have any
> sort of memory, and (b) how any sort of being could come into
> existence *except* in a world with an arrow of time (given that
> living organisms contain a frozen history of their evolution, just
> as their brains contain a history of their experiences).
> While the world can be considered a block universe for the purposes
> of explaining physical phenomena (and making sense) this doesn't
> necessitate that the linkage between the "snapshots" making up the
> block universe - what we call the laws of physics - should
> themselves create a world in thermodynamic equilibrium, even if
> Platonia itself is completely unchanging (having no time direction
> in which to change).
> There are, I think, explanations at two different levels involved
> here. The "frog's-eye" and "bird's-eye" views don't have the same
> form, and shouldn't be confused.

That's something along the lines of what I would have written. You managed
to keep your hands tied down however!

OK, let's suppose we are sim's of Platonia. In particular, let's suppose
that us and the world around us are represented by the computational
histories of Platonic Turing Machines.

When a TM that supports a sim "executes" steps (quotes cause we're in
Platonia), the contents of its tape change and the read-write head moves
(I'll spare you the quotes on change and move). When we look at a snapshot
of the tape, what is on that tape are zeroes and ones (of course, Platonia
doesn't care whether its apples and oranges on the tape). We are represented
by some of those zeroes and ones. As you have noted, those zeroes and ones
will contain records of what happened in prior snapshots on the tape. There
will also be records of our thoughts and beliefs. Some of those beliefs will
be of time and some of consciousness. The snapshot, however, is totally
static; it in itself does not support consciousness, it is just ones and
zeroes. Similarly the next snapshot is static and the glue that holds the
two snapshots together can be totally described by a static bit-string which
encodes the TM.

It does not seem like we can find our first person experience in this; it's
all just zeroes and ones! Apples and oranges even. But that's just
incredulity. I think the pertinent question to ask is: why do sequences of
zeroes and ones on the tape develop the belief of consciousness? 
Brian Scurfield

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