Paddy Leahy wrote:
[quoting Hal Finney]
Here's how I attempted to define observer moment a few years ago:
Observer - A subsystem of the multiverse with qualities sufficiently
similar to those which are common among human beings that we consider
it meaningful that we might have been or might be that subsystem.
These qualities include consciousness, perception of a flow of time,
and continuity of identity.
Observer-moment - An instant of perception by an observer. An observer's
sense of the flow of time allows its experience to be divided into
units so small that no perceptible change in consciousness is possible
in those intervals. Each such unit of time for a particular observer
is an observer-moment.
So if you don't believe in observer-moments, do you also not believe
in observers? Or is it the -moment that causes problems?
Obviously, its the -moment. I'm pleased to see that Jonathan and Brent have
the same problem with the concept that I do.
Being an observer is a process. Slicing it into moments is OK
mathematically, where a "moment" corresponds to a calculus dt (and hence is
neither a particular length of time nor an instant). But to regard the
"observer-state" at a particular moment as an isolated entity which is
self-aware makes as much sense as regarding individual horizontal slices
through a brain as being self-aware. It is the causal relation between
successive brain states (incorporating incoming sense data) which
constitutes intelligence, and self-awareness is just an epiphenomenon on
top of intelligence, i.e. I would not agree that anything can be self-aware
but have no intelligence.
You're making it far more complicated than it needs to be. An observer
moment is just a period of conscious experience. Usually it is taken to be
the shortest possible period, which for a human is somewhere between 100 and
500 ms, but there is no reason not to discuss observer minutes, hours or
whatever seems appropriate to the context. The "real" entity is the
observer, not the observer moment, but it sometimes helps to divide up the
observer's experience into time slices just as it is helpful to divide up
the day into hours, minutes and seconds. The division does not imply any
theory about how the brain actually gives rise to conscious experience, any
more than clocks imply any theory about how the planet rotates on its axis.
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