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.

--Stathis Papaioannou

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