On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 9:03 PM, Russell Standish <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> An OM is a state of a machine. In as far as the machine is embedded
> in space, the the OM is spread across space. Successive OMs involve
> state change, ie must differ by at least a bit. Therefore, OMs must
> also be extended in time by some finite amount, rather than be of
> infinitesimal direction. Of course this finite amount of time will be
> observer dependent, so it may well be that a fly's OM is of shorter
> duration than a human's, if a fly is capable of OMs at all (have you
> read my ant consciousness paper yet?).
Yes, I've read it, and I think I have a more formal way of describing
my objection to it. If there were a device that could randomly pick a
conscious observer moment from among all conscious observers on earth,
and allow you to experience that perspective for a moment, I would
have the opinion this machine is a valid tool for drawing conclusions
on the likelihood of certain creatures being conscious, even if you
could only use the tool once.
My formal objection, however, is that making the same judgment based
on one's current perspective ignore conditional probability. It
ignores a blindingly obvious premise that we already are a human.
Anthropic reasoning in your paper asks "What is the probability that I
should be a human?" I think a truer formulation is really "What is
the probability that I should be a human, given I am Russel
Standish?". In the example I gave where some device could teleport
your awareness into a random creature, there is no preexisting
condition, but when we draw the conclusion starting from already being
a human, the question is meaningless. This is just how I now see
things, if you have a reason why the initial premise (of starting from
a human perspective) can be ignored I am very interested in hearing it
as it could change my perspective on the subject.
> One interesting aspect of all of this is what is the neurophysiological
> trick used by the human brain to pull a distributed (in both space and
> time) process into a single coherent here and now experienced by
> consciousness. This was once used to argue for substance dualism, but
> more recent people (eg Dennett) think that we're close to solving the
> neurological mechanism involved.
I look forward to the day it is understood.
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