Le 13-mai-05, à 05:39, Lee Corbin a écrit :

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.

Such critics can be addressed to any "block-universe" view of physics, not just mathematical platonia.

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.

Look at my recent posts to the FOR-LIST, which I have cc-send to the everything-list just two minutes ago. I agree the abandon of vitalism is a progress. And it is true that natural science has explained feature like self-reproduction, animal motion, energy transformation (sun -> living matter) and so one. But it is just erroneous to conclude that the mind-body problem has been solved. And then if we are really "digital machine", I offer a case that materialism will be abandoned from purely rational consideration. Matter? A lasting aristotelian superstition ...

Observer-moments seems to arise simply from observers,

Except that nobody has ever succeed in explaining how the 1-person observer moment can arise from any 3-person description of an observer. And myself and independently Maudlin has made a strong case why, with the comp hyp it is just impossible to make such a link. Reference can be found here:
http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/lillethesis/these/ node79.html#SECTION001300000000000000000

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*.




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