On Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 01:28:42AM -0500, Jason Resch wrote:
> 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.
> Thanks,
> Jason

I've heard this objection before, indeed I had a debate about it with
someone (I can't quite remember who it was - perhaps its was
you). Sadly, I really don't understand it, as I have never premised
anything on being Russell Standish, nor even on just being a
human. The only thing it is premised on is being a conscious being.

Given this objection has come up before, perhaps there have been some
papers discussing it. It would have important ramifications for all
anthropic arguments, not just the ant one. If there are no papers on
the topic, then there's a publishing opportunity for you :)



A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
UNSW SYDNEY 2052                         [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Australia                                http://www.hpcoders.com.au

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