Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> On 3/19/07, *Brent Meeker* <[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
> <mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]>> wrote:
>     Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>      >
>      >
>      > On 3/19/07, *Brent Meeker* <[EMAIL PROTECTED]
>     <mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
>      > <mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
>     <mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]>>> wrote:
>      >
>      >
>      >      >If there are OMs which don't
>      >      > remember being you then they are not going to be part of your
>      >     stream of
>      >      > consciousness.
>      >
>      >     There's the rub.  Almost all my OMs *do not* include consciously
>      >     remembering being me (or anyone). And if you suppose there is an
>      >     *unconscious* memory component of an OM then there's a
>     problem with
>      >     what it means to have an unconscious part of consciousness.
>      >
>      >
>      > Well, how do you maintain a sense of being you in normal life?
>     Certainly not consciously.
>      >If you
>      > are absent-mindedly staring at a tree you at least have a sense
>     that you
>      > have been staring at the tree, rather than drowning in the ocean a
>      > moment ago.
>     I have that sense transiently - and its isolated and unconnected to
>     the OM in which I was staring at the tree, except through the
>     content it shares, i.e. my staring at a tree - the one as perception
>     and the other as memory of a perception.
>      >You are also aware that you haven't grown 10cm taller or
>      > suddenly changed sex - that is, you would immediately be aware of
>     these
>      > things had they happened, even though you are not actively thinking
>      > about them or their absence.
>      >So a bland sameness from moment to moment
>      > constitutes a sense of memory and continuity of identity,
>     What's a "sense of memory"?  Is it conscious?  I'm not conscious of
>     one.  I'd say it's the default model we use when we think, "Am I the
>     same person I was a few minutes ago?  Don't feel and
>     different.  Must be." 
> It seems you are using "consciousness" in a more specific sense than I 
> am. I am just referring to the process of having any experience - of not 
> being unconscious.
>      >since an OM
>      > that deviated substantially from this would either not be
>     considered as
>      > a successor OM or immediately alert you that something strange had
>      > happened.
>     But as you argued earlier OMs don't communicate.  They are not
>     related except by their conscious content.  So an OM never has
>     knowledge of another OM against which to measure its deviation.  One
>     might experience an OM whose content was, "I'm a different person
>     than I was ten minutes ago because I now notice a discontinuity in
>     my memory." but I'm not sure even that would break my feeling of
>     being me. 
> No, there are obviously multiple factors involved, from memory to 
> continuity of perception and perhaps even a primary sense of identity 
> separate from these other cues. But if at any moment these factors have 
> zero conscious activity, they could in theory be eliminated, although 
> they might need to be brought into play again in an instant.
>     My point is that, at least as I experience it, consciousness, the
>     inner narrative we tell ourselves, is far too weak, to lacking in
>     content, to create a chain of experience.  Memory cannot do it
>     because one is rarely, consciously remembering anything.  What
>     creates the chain is something unconscious - something not observed
>     and so not part of an OM. 
> Unconscious factors affecting our sense of continuity of identity must 
> do it through affecting conscious factors. 

That would follow if we were always conscious of our sense of continuity of 
identity, but I don't think we are.  I may think of it from time-to-time, but 
generally I don't have any "sense of identity" to be affected.  That's the 
problem I see with OMs.  They are usually conceived as what people not on this 
list call "thoughts", the sort of thing expressible in simple sentence.  They 
don't come with a subordinate clause, "and this thought is by Brent Meeker."

>Suppose some unconscious 
> factor X were partly responsible for placing my last second of 
> consciousness in sequence. That means that if X had been different, my 
> conscious experience would have been different. I can't claim that X 
> plays a role while maintaining that I would not have noticed anything 
> different without X. 

Depends on what you mean by "notice".  The brain implements a physical 
processes, of which you are not conscious.  It causes your next thought to pop 
into consciousness.  If the brain's process had been a little different, say it 
was perturbed by a cosmic ray particle, your next conscious thought would have 
been different.  You would have a different thought - but you wouldn't *notice* 
it was different. 

Could something, a shower of cosmic ray particles, cause you to suddenly have 
the thought, "I am Brent Meeker." and if it did, would your "sense of 
continuity of identity" have been affected?  If the "I" referred to Sthathis 
Papaioannou that would be a discontinuity of identity.  But if "I" referred to 
me, it would just be an instance of your brain having one of my thoughts and 
would not affect your identity.

>You could use that as a definition of unconscious: 
> if it were removed, you would not notice any change.
>     Of course you can deny that there is any chain and think of it more
>     like network of paths with marked stepping stones.  Once in awhile
>     there's a stone that's marked, "Remember you're Brent Meeker." and
>     every path that includes one of these is "me", even if the path also
>     includes some marked "Remember you're Stathis Papaioannou." 
> How could you tell the difference, from the inside, between such a path 
> and a chain?

You couldn't, but neither is there any reason for them to form a sequence of 
any kind. In the metaphor the stones are arranged on the ground and have 
adjacency relations.  But in the OM picture each one exists in isolation and 
there are no adjacency relations.

Brent Meeker

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