Why does an OM need to contain so much information to link it to other OMs
making up a person? I certainly don't spend every waking moment reminding
myself of who I am, let alone going over my entire past history, and I still
think all my thoughts are my thoughts. I don't think that the fact these
thoughts are contained in my head makes the difference, because as you
seemed to agree, continuity of consciousness can in theory extend over
discontinuities in time and/or space, as in teleportation. On the other
hand, I could suddenly become psychotic and as a result believe I am a
completely different person, with a different past; or perhaps my mind could
be taken over by an alien intelligence with a similar effect. As for one OM
potentially representing a thought from thousands of different people, that
is exactly what happens in the multiverse and is one of the key advantages
of the concept. Suppose you and I happened to have *exactly* the same
subjective experience at a particular time, say seeing a red shape on a
white wall at the age of two. This would mean that, for that moment, your
mind and my mind could have been interchanged, or one of our two minds could
have been temporarily suspended, without making any subjective difference to
either of us. An external observer monitoring my body might have noticed a
momentary blankness if my mental processes were suspended at the moment of
coincidence, but as far as I was concerned, it would have been exactly the
same as if I were teleported away to have the red shape experience (which I
would have had anyway) and teleported back.
Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
Brent Meeker writes:
I agree with all you have written below as an explication of what we mean
person in the multiverse. But it assumes an objective spacetime in order
define persons by causal continuity. I thought the point of OMs was to
a fundamental ontology from which spacetime would be constructed.
While it always seems in real life, as in my example, that there is a
causal connection between related OMs, this need not necessarily be the
case. For a2 to think, "I stepped into the teleporter a moment ago" and to
consider himself the person a1a2, it is sufficient simply that a2 exist.
That is, given that a2 exists, it makes no difference whether there is
information transfer from a1 to a2, whether a1 precedes a2, or whether a1
exists at all. In general, if the only thing that exists is the set of all
possible OMs, not ordered in any particular way and each OM completely
independent and isolated, then the apparent multiverse with its complex
physical laws results as an emergent phenomenon, or if you prefer, an
That's taking an OM to be like Barbour's time capsule. They are ordered
according to their contents. a1a2's OM with the thought that he was in a
teleporter and was a1, connects to a1's OM with the thought that now I am
stepping into a teleporter. But that brings me back to my objection to
Barbour's time capsules contain whole states of the world. OMs don't have
enough information to provide the specificity required for connections.
OM thought could be the thought of thousands of other people. To be sure,
take a sequence of a1a2's thoughts and lump them into one OM then that OM
have enough information to place in a unique sequence indentifying a
But then we've really assumed the thing to be explained.
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