# RE: Numbers, Machine and Father Ted

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Peter Jones writes:

> > > 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."

You're just stating that time is different from space. Time and space are also
different from colour, or any other property an object may have. If we didn't
have time there would be no change, if we didn't have height everything would
be flat, and if we didn't have colour everything would be black.

> > 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.

That you don't experience HP universes is as much an argument against a
physical
multiverse as it is an argument against a mathematical multiverse. If a
physical MV
exists, then in some branch you will encounter purple dragons in the next
second.
The fact that you don't means that either there is no physical multiverse or
there is
a physical multiverse but the purple dragon experience is of low measure.
Similarly in
a mathematical multiverse the HP experiences may be of low measure.

> > 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.

Not "just as easily". If you are destructively scanned and a moment from now 2
copies
of you are created in Moscow and 1 copy created in Washington, you have a 2/3
chance
of finding yourself in Moscow and a 1/3 chance of finding yourself in
Washington. It is a
real problem to explain why the HP universes are less likely to be experienced
than the
orderly ones (see chapter 4.2 of Russell Standish' book for a summary of some
of the
debates on this issue), but it is not any more of a problem for a mathematical
as opposed
to a physical multiverse.

> > 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.

Whether the Block Universe model is right or not, the series of clones you
describe, set up as an experiment, would still give the experience of being
continuously conscious through time. I remember being conscious a second
ago but how could I possibly know that I didn't just pop into existence
complete with false memories half a second ago? All I know is what I am
experiencing *now*. It is only because I have memories and a sense of being
the same person over time that I consider it was "I" who woke up this morning
and it will be "I" again who goes to bed tonight. I don't have a direct
telepathic
link to past or future selves, or copies in the next room, to ensure that they
are
"really me". All I have to go on are my present memories and beliefs, which
could
in theory be artificially implanted without changing anything about my stream
of
consciousness. Nothing is changed if we say that we live only transiently, and
the
feeling that we persist as individuals through time is an illusion.

Stathis Papaioannou
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