>-----Original Message-----
>From: Lee Corbin [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
>Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 3:40 AM
>To: EverythingList
>Subject: RE: many worlds theory of immortality
>Brent writes
>> 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
>ask me.
>> > 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
>> 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*.

In considering what it takes to be an observer, I find it useful to think about
robots.  What would I have to design into a robot in order that it be an
observer - and not just a recorder?  I think the essential elements are having
a goal, the ability to act, and the ability to learn from experience. At a
rudimentary level I'd say the Mars rovers qualify as observers.

Brent Meeker

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