>From: Lee Corbin [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
>Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2005 4:24 AM
>Subject: RE: many worlds theory of immortality
>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
You're right. I meant to type, "I agree there is NO reason to..."
>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.
I think that an observer must be physically instantiated - that seems well
supported empirically. As it is used a "observer moment" seems to mean a unit
of subjective experience. That there is an "observer", i.e. something with
continuity over many such subjective experiences, must be an inference or a
construct within the theory.
>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.
I don't know that "we have to". I've know idealist who suppose that our
memories are part of our immaterial spirits. But they have a hard time
explaining the limitations of memory.
>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.
But if, for each subjective experience, there is no way to uniquely associate
it with a sequence of subjective experiences, i.e. every such experience has
many predecessors and successors, then I don't see how such sequences can
constitute a particular person(s). It seems in these discussions that the
existence of such sequences corresponding to a particular person, an
"observer", is taken for granted. It is a natural model given that observers
are physical things - but it is problematic if physics is thrown out and you
start from nothing but "observer moments".
"You got some 'splainin' to do."
--- Ricky Ricardo