Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> In an excellent and clear post Peter Jones writes:
>
> > Matter is a bare substrate with no properties of its own. The question
> > may well be asked at this point: what roles does it perform ? Why not
> > dispense with matter and just have bundles of properties -- what does
> > matter add to a merely abstract set of properties? The answer is that
> > not all bundles of posible properties are instantiated, that they
> > exist.
> > What does it mean to say something exists ? "..exists" is a meaningful
> > predicate of concepts rather than things. The thing must exist in some
> > sense to be talked about. But if it existed full, a statement like
> > "Nessie doesn't exist" would be a contradiction ...it would amount to
> > "the existing thing Nessie doesnt exist". However, if we take that the
> > "some sense" in which the subject of an "...exists" predicate exists is
> > only initially as a concept, we can then say whether or not the concept
> > has something to refer to. Thus "Bigfoot exists" would mean "the
> > concept 'Bigfoot' has a referent".
> >
> > What matter adds to a bundle of properties is existence. A non-existent
> > bundle of properties is a mere concept, a mere possibility. Thus the
> > concept of matter is very much tied to the idea of contingency or
> > "somethingism" -- the idea that only certain possible things exist.
>
> So on this basis alone are you opposed to a *physical* multiverse, in which
> every possibility is physically instantiated somewhere, but some possibilities
> are more common/ have greater measure than others?

No, a Physical multiverse is material and Somethingist.
The idea that HP/WR universes are not observed because they
have a low, but non-zero measure is an extension of the
single universe idea that they are no observed because they
have zero measure.

> > The other issue matter is able to explain as a result of having no
> > properties of its own is the issue of change and time. For change to be
> > distinguishable from mere succession, it must be change in something.
> > It could be a contingent natural law that certain properties never
> > change. However, with a propertiless substrate, it becomes a logical
> > necessity that the substrate endures through change; since all changes
> > are changes in properties, a propertiless substrate cannot itself
> > change and must endure through change. In more detail here
>
> Why must "change... be change in something"? It sort of sounds reasonable
> but it is our duty to question every assumption and weed out the superfluous
> ones. If there is an object with (space, time, colour) coordinates (x1, t1, 
> red)
> and another object (x1, t2, orange), then we say that the object has changed
> from red to orange.

If we already know what distinguishes the time co-ordinate
from the space co-ordinate. What is our usual
way of doing that? The time co-ordinate is the one that is always
changing...

Time and Possibility

Imagine a universe in which there was no change, nothing actually
occurs. In the absence of events, it would be imposssible to
distinguish any point in timw from any other point. There would be no
meaning to time -- such a universe would be timeless.
Now imagine a universe which is completely chaotic. Things change so
completely from one moment to the next that there are no conistent
things. This universe is made up solely of events, which can be
labelled with 4 coordinates . [ x,y,z,t]. But which coordinate is the
time coordinate ? One could just as well say [ y,t,z,x]. In the absence
of persistent ojects there is nothing to single out time as a
'direction' in a coordinate system. So again time is meaingless.

In order to have a meaningful Time, you need a combination of sameness
(persisitent objects) and change (events). So time is posited on being
able to say:

"Object A changed from state S1 at time T1 to state S2 at time T2."


> I don't see how a physical multiverse would be distinguishable from a virtual
> reality or a mathematical reality (assuming the latter is possible, for the 
> sake
> of this part of the argument). The successive moments of your conscious
> experience do not need to be explicitly linked together to "flow" and they do
> not need to be explicitly separated, either in separate universes or in 
> separate
> rooms, to be separate.

I've never seen an HP universe. Yet they *must* exist in a mathematical
reality, because there are no random gaps in Platonia. Since all
mathematical
structures are exemplified, the structure corresponging to (me up till
1 second ago)
+ (purple dragons) must exist. If there is nothing
mathematical to keep out of HP universe, the fact that I have never
seen one is
evidence against a mathematical multiverse.

> If you died today and just by accident a possible next
> moment of consciousness was generated by a computer a trillion years in the
> future, then ipso facto you would find yourself a trillion years in the 
> future.

That's the whole problem. I could just as easily find myself in an HP
universe. But I never do.


> But if you had the successive moments of your consciousness implemented
> in parallel, perhaps as a simulation on a powerful computer, it would be 
> impossible
> to tell that this was the case. For all you are aware, there may not *be* any 
> past
> moments: your present experience may include false memories of your past, and
> whole world may have been created a second ago.

A simulation running on a computer is still a dynamic, temporal
process. The point is that the passage of
time tells me that I am not in Platonia.


Time Capsules: Getting Flow from Sequence.

Proponents of the Block Universe view believe that there is only a
B-Series. Some think that alone is adequate to explain the subjective
Flow-of-Time. It is easy enough to see how there could be a sequence in
the B series. If we consider a series of 3 dimensional "snapshots" of
someone's brain, each subsequent snapshot iwll contain information
relating back to previous ones.
But is this chain or sequence enough to establish flow ? A B-series
without an A-series is like a spatial series. If you had a series of
clones arranged spatially so that clone 2 has all of clone 1's memories
(and more), clone 3 has all of clone 2's memories (and more) and so on,
you would not expect anything to be flowing from one clone to another.
The clones form a series of "time capsules", and a such they have a
natural sequence, but that is all.
Without an A series, there is nothing to justify the idea that only one
time capsule is conscious "at a time". Either they all are, or none
are. We know we are conscious, so we must reject the "none are" option.
The Block Universe therefore predicts that all time capsules are
conscious. This is in line with the way the Block Universe spatialises
Time. It predicts that consciousness is a single 4-dimensional entity.
I would not just be conscious now with memories of the past, I would
have a consciousness in the past overlaid on my present consciousness.

The objection that being arrayed along the 4th dimension would split
consciousness up is week; we don't have a micro-conscousness associated
with each neuron, despite their spatial separation. Why should temporal
separation have ant atomising, fragmenting effect --when B-series time
is so similar to space anyway ?


What tells
me that I am not being computer-simulated is  another
question.


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