Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> 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. 
> While 
> fortunately rare these days, the most extreme forms of disorganised 
> schizophrenia 
> are from the patient's point of view something like having random, 
> disconnected thoughts 
> and perceptions without even a sense that they belong to a single enduring 
> individual to 
> bind them together.
> I think of an OM as the shortest possible period of conscious experience, 
> which would make 
> 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 
> without loss 
> 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 infinitesimals 
> 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 
> complication. 
> 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 natural sequence 
> which cannot be disrupted.
> Stathis Papaioannou

That is not clear to me.  Perhaps it turns on the meaning of "content" in an 
OM.  Generally if my OM's are taken to be on the order of a second or longer, I 
think the order could be reconstructed from the content.  But I also think 
there would be exceptions.  For example if I'm startled by a loud noise this 
switches my consciousness on a time scale much shorter than 1sec to "What was 
that!?" and then, deciding it was not important, I switch back to what I was 
thinking of before.  These thoughts are connected by *memory* but not by 
conscious content of OMs.  Maybe there is a feeling of continuity in 
consciousness which doesn't survive chopping it up into OMs, i.e. each 
conscious thought has duration and overlaps preceding and suceding thoughts.  
But I think that either some such overlap or access to memory must be invoked 
to ensure that OMs can be ordered.

Brent Meeker

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