Brent Meeker writes:
> > > I don't disagree with that. But that means that a conscious, 1st > > > 
> > > person, pair of experiences, i.e. pair of numbers can have no order > > > 
> > > other than the inherent order of the numbers. And if an experience > > > 
> > > corresponds to just a number, then experiences are discrete and can't be 
> > > > > > chopped finer than some limit.> > > > The order of a pair of 
> > > experiences is set by the fact that one is > > considered first and the 
> > > other second, perhaps because there is a > > subjective sense of the 
> > > passage of time, perhaps because the second > > experience contains a 
> > > memory of the first, perhaps due to some other > > subtle aspect of the 
> > > content of the experiences. > > But on this view an experience is a 
> > > complex thing, far from the atomic perception of a red flash, and even 
> > > includes parts that are not conscious. This comports with my speculation 
> > > that a conscious atom is fairly complex and has a significant duration 
> > > such that it overlaps the conscious atoms before and after. This overlap 
> > > provides the ordering and the sense of time and continuity.
No doubt even a red flash experience is more than just a red flash, containing 
at least a vague sense of personal identity, past experience, an understanding 
of what "red" means, etc. Also, it must have a subjective duration because 
however long a perception is, it can't be instantaneous. However, I don't see 
why it is necessary to speculate that there must be overlap, or even what 
overlap could possibly mean in this context. Static frames in a film and the 
infinitesimals studied in calculus give the impression of continuous motion 
without the need for overlap, so why not perception? By analogy with frames in 
a film, I would say that machine states S1,S2,S3 give rise to perceptual states 
P1,P2,P3 such that a single state (analogous to a single frame) does not give 
rise to an experience, but a pair of states P1,P2 or P2,P3 does. This defines 
an apparent overlap, but without a need for actual overlap.
> > In the real world, the > > subjective content reflects brain activity which 
> > in turn reflects > > environmental input (that's why the sense of order 
> > evolved in the first > > place), but this relationship is only a contingent 
> > one. > > Well that's the question isn't it. Comp assumes it, but comp also 
> > leads to strange if not absurd conclusions. > > > If the pair of > > 
> > experiences are experienced in the order AB there is no way for the > > 
> > experiencer to know whether they were actually generated in the order AB > 
> > > or BA, unless reversing the order changes the content in some > > 
> > significant way.> > That assumes the experiences can be discretely 
> > separated with not overlap. Certainly there are instances like that: the 
> > experience just before you lose consciousness due to a concussion and the 
> > experience just as you regain it are disjoint in this way. You only recover 
> > continuity through accessing memories and there is a gap even in that 
> > memory. But in ordinary circumstances the continuity might be inherent in 
> > the overlap of conscious atoms.
I don't think actual situations where you lose consciousness are a good 
example, because for technical reasons the "cut" cannot be clean and 
instantaneous. This is where thought experiments are useful. If you were 
instantaneously disintegrated in mid-thought and later reconstituted with every 
atom in exactly the same configuration, so that e.g. every action potential 
travelling down an axon continues where it left off, then I don't see how it is 
possible that you would experience a discontinuity.
 > > This means there is no natural order of physical states (or abstract > > 
 > > machine states): the order can be anything, and the subjective order of > 
 > > > experience will be unchanged. It also means there is no natural order of 
 > > > > subjective states: that which seems first, seems first and that which 
 > > > > seems second, seems second. This is good, because it doesn't depend on 
 > > > > any theory or assumption about consciousness.> > No natural order of 
 > > physical states? Are you denying causality?
I meant that you can't necessarily work back from the mental states to 
determine the order of the physical states underpinning them.
 > > > I guess I need a more explicit idea of how experiences occur in > > 
 > > > arithmetic Platonia. Are we to imagine that some large number > > 
 > > > 3875835442... is a single, atomic experience and another number > > 
 > > > 3876976342... is another single, atomic experience and they have no > > 
 > > > other relation than their natural order? In that case, they would be > > 
 > > > experiences in a certain bundle of streams of consciousness just in > > 
 > > > virtue of having some digits in common or having factors in common or > 
 > > > > what? Or are we to imagine another Platonic object, a Turing machine, 
 > > > > > that generates both these numbers in a certain sequence (maybe the > 
 > > > > reverse of their natural order) - and that's what makes them parts of 
 > > > > > the same experience bundle?> > >> > > Brent Meeker> > > > I would 
 > > > say that the relationship between abstract machine states does > > not 
 > > > have anything to do with how mental states are ordered or even if > > 
 > > > they belong to the same person, except insofar as related machine states 
 > > > > > may lead to mental states with related content.> > That's the 
 > > > question I was intending to raise. If comp is true then a computation 
 > > > may instantiate some consciousness, i.e. associates a number and a 
 > > > conscious state in one model anyway. Are these states ordered by 
 > > > inherent properties of the numbers? Or are they ordered by their order 
 > > > of generation by the machine? I think you favor the former; that states 
 > > > of consciousness exist timelessly in Platonia. But each one is so 
 > > > complex that there is an inherent ordering, as though each one contained 
 > > > pointers to successors and/or predecessors. I can understand that, but 
 > > > seems to me make conscious states much more complex than "observer 
 > > > moments" and to include much that is not conscious.
Suppose that you are reciting the alphabet A,B,C,D... and for the duration that 
would have been "C" your brain activity is suspended while a separate copy of 
your brain (maybe a digital computer, maybe a biological brain - whatever it 
takes) fills in the missing letter. It seems that you are suggesting this 
process might produce a break in continuity. If this is so, then there would be 
something about the inserted letter that marks it as being not quite right: 
perhaps the memory of "B" or anticipation of "D", or the subliminally present 
sense of the passage of time, or the sense of personal identity shift a little. 
But all this would mean is that there is a technical problem in correctly 
implementing the "C". Done properly, so that *every* aspect of the conscious 
experience is exactly as it would have been originally, what evidence of the 
discontinuity could there possibly be?
Stathis Papaioannou
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