> 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.
Personally, I would agree. But many here contend that abstract
patterns---mathematical stings, really---can do *so* much cross-
referencing and quoting of each other that a form of paste obtains
that wields them in to something capable of having experiences.
But a familiar abstract object, namely the real numbers between zero
and one, evidently already does all of that (considering the decimal
or binary expressions), and so I'm not sure what remains for the
more abstruse inhabitants of Platonia to do.
> >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 idealists who suppose
> that our memories are part of our immaterial spirits. But they
> have a hard time explaining the limitations of memory.
Such idealists have a hard time being credible at all, if you
> > 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).
I agree. That is, freed of memory, just how are all those subjective
moments linked in a particular ordered sequence? I also agree with
your statement, when *persons* (as you write) are being considered.
I'll admit that there is something---but not very much---associated
with a person that has nothing to do with the person's memories.
> 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".
Well said. A natural model does give us that observers are
physical things, or at least *necessarily* instantiated in
physical things. And I agree that starting from nothing but
observer-moments won't take us any further than it took
William James http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/james/
I can't blame the ancients and moderns up to the 19th century
for being dualists. It seemed utterly impossible that mere
atoms in motion could give rise to such as we. But the painful
---and painstaking---defeat of vitalism achieved finally in
the 20th century leaves it the simplest hypothesis by far to
say that we are machines. Our "souls" and we arise by natural
means, just as do streams and mountains.
Observer-moments seems to arise simply from observers, and
observers arise simply from highly intelligent mammals (or
aliens) who can think about their own thinking. Unless you
want (which is probably a good idea) to regard even
photographic plates and other matter upon which impressions
can be made as *observers*.