George and List:
a very naive question (even more than my other posts) since I miss lots of posts that have been exuded on this list (since a decade or so of my incompletely reading it):
Has it been ever formulated (and accepted on this list!) what we mean by the verb "to observe"? What does an 'observer' do in its (not his!!!) 'observer minute'? WHAT (and not 'who') is an observer?
I did not 'study' the concept just developed a feeling.
Observer in this feeling is "anything" (including 'anybody') that absorbs some (any?) information - of course according to my vocabulary as a difference to be acknowledged/absorbed.
An electron is an observer to the potential it senses/follows and a reader/viewer is an observer of Shakespeare's plays. And anything in between.  - This ID implies a target of the attention, not only the 'blank' observation itself.
In this sense it is in the ballpark of the consciousness domain, in my identification, of course,  which calls for acknowledgment of and response to (my!) information as the *process* of that darn consciousness. (Including memory/experience, decisionmaking, moving the body or else, both sensorially and ideationally).
Which comes close to an 'observer' being conscious. Not bad even  for a machine, what WE ARE ourselves as well (Bruno).
(Well, also 'gods', for that matter).  A thermostat observes and responds consciously - at its own level. Not at the level of I.Kant.
John M
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, October 09, 2006 5:55 PM
Subject: Re: Maudlin's Demon (Argument)

David Nyman wrote:
On Oct 9, 8:54 pm, George Levy <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

To observe a split consciousness, you need an observer who is also
split, in sync with the split consciousness, across time, space,
substrate and level (a la Zelazny - Science Fiction writer). In your
example, for an observer to see consciousness in the machine, he must be
willing to exist at the earlier interval, skip over the time delay
carrying the recording and resume his existence at the later interval.
If he observes only a part of the whole thing, say the recording, he may
conclude that the machine is not conscious.

Careful, George. Remember the observer *is* the machine. Consequently
he's never in a position to 'conclude that the machine is not
conscious', because in that case, it is precisely *he* that is not
There is no question that the machine needs to be conscious - this is the whole point of the experiment - The observer *may* be the machine, but does not have to be (we could conduct a Turing test for example). In any case I think there may be great benefit in decoupling the observer function explicitely. The presence of such an observer and its location with respect the machine will force the issue on the first and third person perspective.

In fact the consciousness of the observer is not really at issue. What I think is at issue is the consciousness of the machine as seen from different perspectives. It may even be sufficient to make the observer some kind of testing program running on a computer.

But you're right IMO that the the concatenation of these
observer moments represents the observer's conscious 'existence in
time' . The 1-person narrative of this concatenation is what comprises
IMO, the A-series (i.e. the conscious discriminability of observer
moments arising from the consistent 1-person compresence of global and
local aspects of the observer), whereas any 3-person account of this is
necessarily stripped back to a B-series that reduces, ultimately, to
Planck-length 'snapshots' devoid of temporality.


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
For more options, visit this group at

Reply via email to