David Nyman writes:
> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > (b) can't be right. However many copies of you there are, you only
> > experience being one at
> > a time.
> Stathis, I concur with this view, and for the reasons you give.
> However, much as I hate to complicate this issue further, I wonder if
> you have a view on the following. I mentioned to Peter the issue of the
> destructive effect of loss of short-term memory on the coherence of
> 'normal' conscious processes - e.g. forgetting the beginning of a
> sentence before getting to the end of it - an affliction to which I'm
> not entirely a stranger myself! From this, it seems to me that the
> notion of a 'state of consciousness' as being discrete with an OM, or
> 'time-capsule', might be overly simplistic, unless we conceive of the
> necessary extent of memory as being entirely encoded in, and accessible
> to, an individual OM - i.e. an OM can represent a 'fully-conscious
> individual'. For that matter, what temporal duration is an OM supposed
> to encompass - a 'Planck-length' instant; the entire 'specious present?
> This whole issue seems to be under-defined, but the danger is that the
> very notion of 'the present' might need to be treated as an emergent
> from a coordinated ensemble, rather than being inherent in individual
> OMs. But then what would coordinate them?
> Any thoughts?
It's certainly possible to have a very fragmented stream of consciousness.
fortunately rare these days, the most extreme forms of disorganised
are from the patient's point of view something like having random, disconnected
and perceptions without even a sense that they belong to a single enduring
bind them together.
I think of an OM as the shortest possible period of conscious experience, which
its apparent duration many milliseconds. Much of the discussion in which the
term OM is used
could as easily (and less ambiguously) use observer-second or observer-minute
of the general point. Of course, hours of real time physical activity might
have to occur for
each subjective moment of consciousness, and those hours may be divided up into
in a block universe, or whatever the underlying physics dictates. The OM
concept has analogies
with block universe models, but it is philosophically useful regardless of what
the actual nature
of time is.
As for memory being encoded in or accessible to an OM, that is an unnecessary
As you said previously, the OM's are related solely by their information
content. If the seconds
of your life were sliced up, shuffled and thrown to the wind, (t1) 3:10:02 PM
of 10/10/06 would
still subjectively follow (t2) 3:10:01 PM of 10/10/06 even though there is no
connection or "flow"
of information between them. If you look at how t1 and t2 are generated, then
yes, there is a
connection - they both come out of your head - but once generated, they form a
which cannot be disrupted.
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