David Nyman wrote:
> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > I think I see what you mean, but it's as much a problem for the intact and
> > normally functioning brain as it is for teleportation experiments, isn't it?
> Yes, that's my point! I'm trying to argue that the brain has actually
> come up with a solution to this in order to account for what we
If it is in the nature of physics to spread over regions
of non-zero duration, the brain doesn't *have* to solve
any problems relating to zero-dimensional slices.
> > For that
> > matter, it's as much a problem for a computer that gets teleported around
> > in the
> > course of its calculations. If the teleportation time slices are of
> > femtosecond
> > duration, then there is nothing within a particular slice to mark it as
> > part of the
> > calculation 5464*2342. Yet a computer strobing in and out of existence like
> > this,
> > technical problems aside, will still come up with the right answer. Indeed,
> > if the
> > computer only materialised in the final femtosecond it would have the right
> > answer
> > and if a log were kept, evidence of how it arrived at the answer. Do you
> > believe
> > that there must be some super-computation information in each femtosecond
> > slice
> > that binds them all together?
> No, this is irrelevant. The calculation example is disanalogous,
> because what is relevant to this is simply the 3-person process that
> results in the right answer: this *entirely constitutes* the
> calculation. We don't seek to make claims about any putative
> 'temporally-extended pov' that the computer might possess while
> performing it. What is at issue in these thought experiments, by
> contrast, is *precisely* the pov - of apparently real temporal
> dimension and dynamic character - that we wish to claim would be
> experienced from the perspective of a given 'time-slice', however
> arbitrarily fine-grained.
Why do we wish to claim that?
> With respect to this pov, we seem to have two alternatives:
> 1) It is supported and constrained *entirely* by whatever structure and
> information is to be found within an individual time-slice (i.e. the
> 'time capsule').
> 2) Structure and information external to the individual time-slice is
> in fact required to generate it (i.e. the individual slice is not a
> 'time capsule').
> Per alternative 1), any slice containing the requisite structure and
> information content can potentially support a coherent 'temporally
> extended' conscious experience. Per alternative 2) AFAICS this can't be
> the case.
> I'm not sure that you're seeing my point here. I'm not denying that the
> pov is maintained in the chopped-up version, I'm supporting this view.
> But given the information constraint, I'm saying that any mechanisms
> that produce conscious experiences of apparent temporal duration *must*
> consequently (and counter-intuitively) depend on *instantaneously*
> present structure and information. These non-sequential issues are not
> relevant for 'calculation', hence the disanalogy. This leads to an
> empirical claim about brain mechanism, driven by the analysis. If we
> don't concede this, then AFAICS we're left with the alternative of
> giving up the information constraint. That is, the apparent temporal
> extension available in experience *from the pov of an individual
> infinitessimal time-slice* must somehow depend on information to be
> found only in other time-slices. But this then renders any notion of
> slicing irrelevant and the thought experiment collapses.
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