David Nyman writes:
> > 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.
> But my point about the 'coherence' of consciousness is that it seems
> (especially from what occurs, or fails to occur, when it deteriorates)
> that complex representation and processing of *temporally extended*
> information sequences (e.g. grasp of the entirety of the content and
> meaning of a sentence or proposition) is necessary for one to
> experience and act as a fully-functioning conscious individual.
> Consequently, it seems to me that such processes must converge on OMs
> in which all the necessary information is fully encoded and expressed
> (which is essentially what Barbour seems to be claiming for his 'time
> capsules' - e.g. his 'flight of the kingfisher' example). Without this,
> the alternative seems to be that the individual random, wind-blown
> seconds of your metaphor would need to be totalised in some additional
> non-information-based manner in order to coordinate an ensemble of
> informationally incomplete, discrete elements into coherent
> experiences. AFAICS they only 'form a natural sequence' from the
> quasi-objective perspective of our philosophical stance. And such
> coordination is in any case what we were assuring Peter was both
> unnecessary and impossible.
We have to distinguish between what actually happens to create the moments of a
consciousness and what is the minimum logically necessary that needs to happen.
My brain must
at some subconscious level have the structure of the whole sentence spanning a
2 second interval
t1-t2 or else the sentence could not be generated. But that's just an
engineering problem: if the
moments t1 and t2 come about with exactly the right sort of phenomenal content,
by random processes, then I will experience a coherent 2 second span of
consciousness in which I
utter the full sentence. The only way I might not experience this is if there
is something wrong with
the actual phenomenal content of t1 and t2: if whatever vague sense I have of
the whole sentence
during t1 and t2 is missing during either or both intervals, then I would
forget what I was saying.
The vague sense of the whole sentence has two parts, in t1 and t2, just as the
sentence itself has
two parts. If we had a longer sentence through further nitervals t3, t4 and t5,
it could be, for example,
that during t4 the sense of the whole sentence is completely absent, and only
in retrospect from t5 is
it seen that t4 was part of the whole. This sort of thing happens all the time
moments, and we rely on the machinery of the brain keeping track of everything
to generate successive
moments of consciousness which pull everything back into coherence.
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