>-----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 >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*.
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