David Nyman wrote:
> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > The point is, whatever you are thinking during t1t2, you are thinking
> > *something*,
> > and you are thinking the same something in (a), (b) and (c). Whatever
> > complex
> > brain processes are occurring during t1t2 in (a) are also occurring in (b)
> > and (c), and
> > therefore whatever conscious processes are occurring during that interval
> > in (a) will
> > also occur in (b) and (c), and you will not lose your place in the sentence
> > or your sense
> > of continuity of consciousness. The OM t1t2 is exactly the same in each
> > case, and falls
> > perfectly into position in each case by virtue of its content alone.
> I think we're in agreement, Stathis, but I'm trying to focus on a
> problem, and what I think is a non-trivial aspect of evolved brain
> functionality that would be required to overcome it. Of course, I agree
> with you that each aspect of the experience '.....falls perfectly into
> position in each case by virtue of its content alone' - it's precisely
> what I've been arguing.
I don't think that is a necessary or obvious truth. If there
is an external time parameter, it might be possible to
return to the same state of mind (or the universe)
at different points in time, just as it is possible to
for identical duplicates to exist simultaneously at different
points in space).
> But there's a subtler point here also, I think,
> that leads to the problem. Let's take the 'cat sat on the mat': now
> 'cat' starts at t1 and 'mat' ends at t2. Let's subdivide t1t2 into
> occasions o1-o1000, and let teleportation occur between each. Each
> occasion o1-o1000 is as informationally closed
What does "informationally closed" mean?
> as OMt1t2 (the
> 'teleportation' is of course inserted precisely to make this point),
> but now it has become implausible to believe that any individual
> occasion, say o492, is of sufficient extent to recover any coherent
> component whatsoever of the conscious thought 'the cat sat on the mat'.
> And yet, we know that we *are* in fact able to routinely recover such
> components, corresponding loosely to a 'specious present' of some 1.5
> seconds extent.
Errmm.. if by "recover" we are able to replay them as
conscious (re)experiences. The memory-trace need
only contain time-stamps indicating the order
and timing of the contents of the experience. The
total structure of time-stamped-stored-experience
can co-exist simultaneously, just as a the frames
of a movie stored on a shelf co-exist simultaneously.
The stored experience is not conscious in itself
any more than the stored movie involves any (ilusion of) motion.
In both cases, that comes in with the recovery.
> Now comes the problem: how do we account for our manifest ability to do
> this without invoking some form of illicit 'continuity' between
> informationally separated occasions of arbitrarily fine granularity? No
> individual occasion apparently contains all the necessary information,
That all depends on what you mean by "individual occasion".
In physics that a purely 3d (0 time-dimensional)
doesn't contain enough information to recover
standard dynamics, and instead a kind of "specious present"
known as "instantaneous velocity" is used -- i.e.
the snapshot is of an infinitessimal slice, not a 0-width slice.
(Barbour's Machianism keeps the 0-slices and does without
some features of standard dynamics).
> and it seems that we almost can't stop ourselves imaginatively invoking
> some sort of continuity over multiple occasions, in order that coherent
> experiences can somehow be recovered by summing over the sequence.
Hmmm. Well, sequence per se doesn't require continuity.
> I think, if true, this would be a real problem in reconciling our
> experience with the facts, and I think therefore that it requires a
> real solution (actually an aspect of Barbour's time capsule theory
> which I'm extrapolating a bit further). Simply, if what I'm arguing is
> valid, it must follow that my assumption about individual occasions
> 'not containing the necessary information' *must be wrong*.
Soo...what you are saying is that experiences of
(seemingly) continuous processes are incompatible with
"presentism", the idea that everything must be recovered
from a 0-width (temporally) slice. Well, maybe,
but not even physics goes in for presentism in exactly *that* sense.
(I think this is relevant to Maudlin. I don't
think the physical "activity" of a system can be
separated from its latent casual dispositions).
> Consequently, sufficient information to recover 'speciously present'
> dynamic experiences *must* in fact be *simultaneously* represented by
> the brain - be present on one occasion - and that this simultaneous
> 'dynamic' presentation must be the engine that renders both the
> duration and the dynamism of the experience. And, to complete the
> (evolutionary) circularity, this would be precisely *why* the brain
> would possess this capability - because without it, extended, dynamic
> environmental presentations would simply be *unavailable* to the
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