Oops, it seems I got my threads crossed! I do agree that the book *exists* even if it isn't read, or never will be read.
Stathis ---------------------------------------- > From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] > To: firstname.lastname@example.org > Subject: RE: Back to Existence: Physically Real vs. Platonic > Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2006 14:53:06 -0700 > > > 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 > < > > > > _________________________________________________________________ Be one of the first to try Windows Live Mail. http://ideas.live.com/programpage.aspx?versionId=5d21c51a-b161-4314-9b0e-4911fb2b2e6d --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to email@example.com To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---