On 02 Dec 2009, at 14:16, soulcatcher☠ wrote:

> Hi all,
> every time I read about the anthropic reasoning in physics I can't
> help asking the more general question:
> "Why I am I, not somebody else?"
> Why I see through _this_ eyes, am confined to _this_ brain, was born
> in _this_ year, etc?
> This question seems to me of the same importance as the question "why
> we live in _this_ universe, with _this_ physical laws?". Moreover, I
> have a deep feeling that both questions ultimately should have the
> same answer - I really don't see a difference between "why my universe
> is this, not that" and "why me body/brain is this, not that" questions
> ...
> So. what do you think - why you is _you_, not me or Elvis Presley or  
> whatever?

I agree with most answer already given. Consider the duplication  
Washington/Moscow. You are "read" (scanned) in Brussels, then  
annihilated, and reconstituted in both Moscow and Washington. Assuming  
we are digital machine makes that experiment possible in principle.  
But neither the "you" in Moscow, nor the "you" in Washington can  
understand why they are finding themselves in M or in W. From outside  
we can understand why the question is meaningless, and yet why the  
question has some meaning from the first person perspective. That  
reasoning shows that the computationalist hypothesis entails the  
existence of question like that, and that identity may be third person  
relative, despite being first person absolute.

Jason Resch wrote:
> Another more interesting question: How do you know you aren't also  
> perceiving those other people's perspectives too?  Obviously no  
> individual brain remembers the thoughts or experiences of the others  
> because there are no neural connections between them (like split  
> brain patients who develop two egos) but just because you don't  
> remember experiencing something doesn't mean you didn't experience it.

This raises the question of how many first person exists. I like the  
idea that the answer is one. We may be all "the universal person"  
appearing and reappearing like if we were already duplicated many  
times, which makes sense given that we come from the same amoeba. We  
are like a god who lost himself in his creation. I do think that we  
can learn to recognize ourself. This can help to develop an altruism  
based on some "divine selfishness". I will not arm some other because  
I know it is really "me", only put in some other context.  Computer  
science can help to make this clearer. Some drug can help to find such  
relativity of the ego more palatable.

soulcatcher☠ wrote:
> On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 3:55 AM, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com 
> > wrote:
>> If you were Elvis and Elvis were you, what difference would that make
>> to anything?
> That would make a huge difference for me and Elvis - my (and his)
> subjective experiences would be very different.

I don't think it would. If Elvis wake up with both your body and  
memories, he will do what you are doing, without noticing *any*  
difference. To have access to such subjective difference you have to  
talk together, and the differences are relative, even if they seem  
(and are) absolute from your first person perspective. You may freely  
consider that such switches occur all the time. What makes you feeling  
that you are you and not someone else is the private experience of  
recollecting and unifying your connected memory.

soulcatcher☠ wrote:
> I always thought that my consciousness (and qualia, 1-st person
> experience) is by definition the perspective that I'm not only having
> right now but knowing that I'm having it (here I strongly agree with
> Damasio that consciousness is not separable from the knowing about the
> feeling). Therefore, by definition, I'm not perceiving those other
> people's perspectives - because If I perceived them, I would have
> known that, these perspectives would be not their but my perspective -
> but they are not. Moreover, this is the only thing that I'm sure about
> - cause my perspective is the one and the only perspective I know.
> Bruno Marchal said (and I really love this quote):  "Any content of
> consciousness can be an illusion. Consciousness itself
> cannot, because without consciousness there is no more illusion at  
> all. "
> In the other words, I can say that my 1-st person perspective cannot
> be an illusion and, as the other people's perspectives aren't part of
> it, I'm sure that I'm not perceiving them...

Thanks for the quote. About "quote", I like very much this one from  
Sri Aurobindo:

What, you ask, was the beginning of it all?

And it is this ...
Existence that multiplied itself
For sheer delight of being
And plunged into numberless trillions of forms
So that it might

I think that knowledge is "true belief" (like Theaetetus), and this,  
when you do the math does indeed explain why knowledge obeys a  
different logic than belief.

May be you should not ask the question "why I am I?", because,  
assuming comp at least, there is no answer (like in the WM- 
duplication). may be you should ask yourself the question "Who am I?".  
it is the favorite koan of Ramana Maharsi. Already with computer  
science we can argue that no first person can find its name, because,  
as you say, the first person perspective is indeed not captured by any  
third person description. This is also related to the fact that we  
cannot know to be this or that machine. We may bet on some machine,  
but strictly speaking, we have no name.

Bruno Marchal



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