Stathis agreed with most of my long post, but then wrote > > What I disagree with is your statement that the mind of the > > observer really played any key role. True, in most realistic > > situations it helped for the new sentient race to have minds > > and to exercise them in the conscious collection of these > > far flung pages; but accidental solar winds from millions > > of stars per chance could have done exactly the same thing. > > So the book would come back into existence again, totally > > without observers being present anywhere in the universe.
> OK, but first you would have to wait for chance or whatever to > put the book back together again, and then you would have to wait > for someone to read it if it's going to be of any use, right? > It's not performing its bookish function at any given time unless > it is being read, and it's not going to be readable until it's > assembled in the appropriate way. Well, that applies to old books hidden in secret passages in monasteries. We ought to say that they exist, but have been currently forgotten about. But the books are still there, even if no one knows about them, just as a falling tree creates sound, even if no one is there to listen. (Feynman chimed in on this one saying that the falling tree makes scratches on leaves that corresponded to the vibrations through the air, and so it did make a sound---and who is going to argue with Feynman? :-) > Chopped up moments of conscious experience, on the other hand, do *not* > need to be specially ordered nor do they need to have an external observer > to appreciate them (although they would be less lonely if they did), ... I know what you are saying, and agree. But as we are evidently arguing about what the term "exists" should mean (i.e. how we should use it, given that its usage does shape our thinking), then I'm stubbornly clinging to the idea that the book existed too. I guess you are right: the set of OMs in question has a certain additional benefit or use: they are of use to the person himself. Lee > because (a) they have their own observer built in, by definition, and (b) > their ordering is a function of their information content, not a function of specially being linked up by someone. This is expressed well in Greg Egan's "Permutation City", in which the upload's moments of conscious experience are implemented here, there, backwards, forwards, etc. on a distributed computer network, but the result from the inside (as it were) is of a single continuous conscious stream. This is not the case for an external observer: the widely distributed computations have to be specially ordered and interpreted to make any sense, just as the words in a book have to be specially ordered, and without this ordering they are so much noise. But for the observer implemented by the computations himself, the ordering follows implicitly from the nature of the information being encoded, as surely as 3 follows 2 and precedes 4 . Stathis Papaioannou < --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---