John Collins had written
> >..You [Hal] are working from the assumption that each person has some sort of
> >transcendental identity that experiences these observer moments, but I would
> >think it more likely that these would be included in the observer moment,
> >with memories being distinguished from "instantaneous" thoughts just by
> >their being repeated several (or even millions of) times.
You reject the reified notion of a "transcendental identity" that
experiences diverse observer moments. But I don't quite see why.
> >As an illustration, try and remember what you had for dinner on your fifth
> >birthday. Whether you remember or not, you only know if you remember when
> >you try to recall it, so you can't really pretend the piece of information
> >is continuously present.
An important point! Every so often I have to remember that I
studied the clarinet as a boy; but that doesn't ever seem to
affect me except on the very rare occasions that something
reminds me of it.
So at any given moment "I" am that which is perceiving thus-
and-such, and is having a certain reaction to it. (There is
another equally important but separate way---almost along
another axis, as it were---that I *am* my memories, and that
it is my memories, my values, and all the rest of my baggage
that I strive to get more runtime for.)
Brent comments on John's statements:
> I agree there is reason to postulate a transcendent observer; I'm content
> with a
> physical observer. That's one of the things that bothers me about "observer
> moments", but I think it's just English grammar that pushes us to have a
I'm sorry. Could you elaborate a bit on that? Firstly, a *physical*
observer is just one, or one of a class of, observers. Do you mean
that every observer must have a physical substrate of some kind?
I'd readily agree! A person may indeed be a program (I personally
believe it), but until it gets instanced, i.e., instantiated in some
piece of hardware, it's got no more life than a book on a shelf.
So criticizing "observer-moment" as a noun, you are cautioning us
against unnecessary reification; that we might keep out ideas
clearer if take the trouble to write out more meaningful phrases
and sentences? I could believe it.
Perhaps you meant, "I agree that there is *no* reason to postulate
a transcendent observer". It would fit better with what you wrote
> If you're going to reconstruct physics from discrete subjective
> experiences you need to be able to collect and order experiences
> according from [that] viewpoint - which corresponds to an "observer" -
> and according to intersubjective agreement among observers -
> which corresponds to the physical world.
Evidently that program appeals to some!
> But just because the subjective observer is a construct, doesn't
> justify the pejorative "pretend". I think I have considerable
> evidence for information, such as what I ate for breakfast, being
> persistently encoded in my brain.
Yes, that's the simplest explanation! We have to suppose that
physical objects continue to encode previously gained information
in the default case.
But what John was perhaps saying---and what I would certainly
claim along with all the adherents of "observer-moments", I
think---is that any particular version of you at any particular
moment is not conscious of the facts encoded in all your memories.
Hence the idea that an observer-moment is the net intersection
across the multiverse and across other planetary systems of a
particular sense-perception experience of a particular person.