Peter Jones writes:

> Computer programmes contain conditional (if-then) statements. A given
> run of
> the programme will in genreal not explore every branch. yet the
> unexplored
> branches are part of the programme. A branch of an if-then statement
> that is
> not executed on a particular run of a programme will constitute a
> counterfactual,
> a situation that could have happened but didn't. Without
> counterfactuals you
> cannot tell which programme (algorithm) a process is implementing
> because
> two algorithms could be have the same execution path but different
> unexecuted branches.

Every physical system contains if-then statements. If the grooves on the record 
were different, 
then the sound coming out of the speakers would also be different.


> Finitism doesn't imply stasis. New frames could be popping into
> existence
> dynamically.
> 
> > If time is continuous then in a linear universe movement is the
> > result of a series of static frames of infinitesimal duration.
> 
> Likewise.
> 
> > There is no room for movement within
> > a frame in either case -
> 
> There is room within an infinitessimal frame. dx/dt is not necessarily
> zero.

No-one knows what dx/dt is. It is the smallest non-zero number, or the 
reciprocal of the 
largest finite number. If there is room for movement within an infinitesimal 
interval then 
it can by definition be divided up further - it isn't an infinitesimal 
interval. However, this is 
straying from the original point I wanted to make, which is that whatever 
reasons there 
might be against block universe theories, continuity of consciousness is not 
one of them. 
Every digital computer has clock cycles during which nothing actually 
"happens", and it is 
the conjunction of these cycles which makes the program "flow". There is no way 
from 
within the program to know what the clock rate is, if there are pauses in the 
program, or 
if it is being run in several parallel processes. You might argue that it would 
not be possible 
to run the program at all without a causal connection between the steps, but 
the fact 
remains, discontinuous framesd during which nothing changes give the illusion 
of continuous 
motion.

Stathis Papaioannou 
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