I have an answer to the nature of the relation between the first-person and specific third-person phenomena. It is based very simply on logical type. Here's the concept as brief as I can make it.

As Deutsch, Barbour, Davies, and others hold, the universe is clearly static. Relativity shows us a static block universe, since the whole of space-time is actual. The linear dynamics similarly shows us a static block universe, a four dimensional array of probability amplitudes for possible events. As with the relativistic universe, progression along the linear time dimension of space-time provides a moving picture, a changing reality. As Penrose states, in the universe described by special relativity: "... particles do not even move, being represented by "static" curves drawn in space--time'. Thus what we perceive as moving 3D objects are really successive cross-sections of immobile 4D objects past which our field of observation is sweeping." (1994, p. 389)

The collapse dynamics is the change to the linear dynamics. This does not work at a global level, due to observers having different simultaneities. In a relational qm, however, this is straightforwardly the time evolution of the frame of reference of the observer in the collapse dynamics, as described by Everett. As Tegmark points out, Everett brings us the clear distinction between the outside and inside views of a quantum state. On the outside view, there is only the linear dynamics. On the inside view, there are sporadic collapses as observations are made. The remaining problem is that there is no viewpoint, in any physical frame of reference, from which to view the change in the frame of reference as observations are made. This is where logical types comes in handy.
Taking the relational view:
The quantum state of the effective physical environment of the observer defines a block universe of probability amplitudes. This is like one frame of a movie, a four dimensional space-time matter and energy movie. The quantum concept of time shows that all possible such frames exist. Barbour"... calls each specific state a 'Now', and this is what he is emphasising when he says that: "Every Now is a complete, self-contained, timeless, unchanging universe" (Folger, 2000). Each Now is a moment in the quantum concept of time. All the moments exist, complete, 'already', like the frames of a movie film. Thus Barbour: "... likens his view of reality to a strip of movie film. Each frame captures one possible Now" (Folger, 2000)"

With regard to a movie, a frame is a member of the set of the frames comprising the movie: they are of different logical type. With regard to the quantum concept of time, the same principle holds. The quantum state of a physical environment at a specific moment in the quantum concept of time is of the first, primitive, logical type, while the set of all possible frames is of a second logical type.

In order to run, the movie requires iteration. This is of a third logical type: it is an operation which apples to all possible movies, all possible sequences of frames. Similarly, in order for there to be a transtemporal reality, even subjectively, there has to be an iterator of the frames of reference defined by the quantum state - I call them quantum mechanical frames of reference. There can be no such physical process, as Deutsch, Barbour, Davies, and others hold, and I'm with them. At the same time, Everett shows how straightforward it is to explain the appearance of collapse: as each observation is made, the frame of reference changes to that of the next moment. The observer becomes correlated with a different quantum state. as he states /... it is not so much the system which is affected by an observation as the observer, who becomes correlated to the system./(1973, p. 116; his italics)

But from what perspective does this change take place? According to Bitbol (1991, p. 7) this is the conversation out of which Everett very much wishes to keep. But the question, of course, stands.

My view is that we have experiential evidence of the answer, bizarre though it is. I notice the world changing. So I am a transtemporal observer. However, I also notice my body changing, and my mind. Everything changes. This change is encountered from the perspective of phenomenal consciousness. That would be just odd, except for the fact that Chalmers that phenomenal consciousnessmust necessarily be a fundamental feature of the universe "... alongside mass energy and space-time" (1995). In other words, in my view, it is an emergent property of the system as a whole. And as such it is of the third logical type. And the problem is solved. What we have discovered in the collapse dynamics, but completely failed to recognise, is a system process. Just as only a computer is in a position to access a sequence of addresses in memory, containing a sequence of structures of information defining the frames of a movie, so too only the unitary system as an information processing whole is in a position to access quantum state after quantum sate. Additionally, as soon as we have a system process of this nature, this also explains the passage of time. As particles don't move, the observational frame of refernce must move. But this has no explanation. Nothing moves, nothing changes; its a block universe. However, just as we sweep our eye across some grand picture at the art gallery, taking in detail after detail, a system process is in a position to sweep the field of observation past the immobile 4D objects existing in the block universe of a specific quantum state. This, I propose, is the only way one can successfully explain the subjective passage of time along the linear time dimension of space-time.

Thus the third person perspective is the objective view of an observer, conventionally a body-mind, or in Everett's formulation the record of sensory observations and machine configuration. In the first person perspective, it is an emergent property of the unitary system, Mind as Bitbol calls it.

All described in detail at http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/5554/


On 13/01/11 01:16, David Nyman wrote:
Gawd, I've missed you Colin, you fierce old thing!  Is it wet where
you are or is the inundation confined to poor old Brisbane?

I suppose you know that Bruno and you agree (at least in my estimation
of your lines of argument) that observation is the key phenomenon to
be explained at the outset, instead - as you rightly say - of just
being taken for granted.  If this cardinal error is committed at the
starting gate, the rest of the argument inevitably runs in a circle.
Of course you and Bruno start from different premisses vis-a-vis the
primitives, but on the positive side either theory is (I presume) open
to empirical falsification.

One thing I haven't been able to fathom so far about your own ideas is
where you stand on what Bruno calls first-person indeterminacy, which
has come up again in a recent thread.  You know, the transporter
thought experiment, or just the question in general of why I find
myself to be in this particular observer position (as raised in the
target paper).  In other words, what is the relation, in your theory,
between the first-person and specific third-person phenomena?  In
Bruno's computational approach, the relation seems to emerge via a
kind of filtering process or sieve of consciousness considered as a
whole through the infinity of possible computations.  In this way the
computational "everything" is conceived as converging on consistent
first-person narratives as a consequence of various kinds of "measure"
- a very rough analogy would be the emergence of all possible books in
Borges' "Library of Babel".   What would be the analogous ideas in
your own approach?


On 12 January 2011 22:50, Colin Hales<c.ha...@pgrad.unimelb.edu.au>  wrote:
I confess to the usual level of exasperation. Yet again the great culturally
maintained mental block subverts real progress. And, yet again, the
participant doesn;t even know they are doing it.  Garrett says ....

"The key is that observers are just a particular type of information, as is
everything else. That is, we assume that the Physical Church Turing Thesis
(PCTT) ..blah blah blah...."


The author has somehow remained completely uninformed by the real message in
the consciousness material cited in the article.

Observers are NOT just a particular type of information!!!!

The word information _was defined by an observer_, a human, USING
observation. Like every other word it's just a metaphoric description of as
thing, with meaning to a human.  No matter what logical steps one proceeds
to enact from this juncture, you are not describing anything that can be
used to build or explain an observer. You are merely describing what an
observer will see.

What does it take to get something so simple across to physics?

I'll have yet another go at it.

Consider a SET_X =  {BALL1, BALL2, BALL3, BALL4}
This is a traditional 3-rd person (3P) view of the set created by a
scientific act of OBSERVATION of the set of balls.
BALL SET SCIENCE then proceeds to construct very clever mathematical
descriptions of set member behaviour.


If you are the observer = BALL1, INSIDE SET X, the very act of observation
results from the 1ST PERSON (1-P) relationship between [you, observer = BALL
1 ] and [the rest of the set, from within SET_X].  This description is not
the same as the above description of SET_X!!!! Can't anyone see that ?? The
ability to observe anything arises from that circumstance, not from the
3P-circumstance constructed by having observed.

Science has not even begun to characterise SET_X   in the 1P way.

Every single attempt so far in science has the following generic form.....

I am human scientist FRED. How we humans do observation is a real mystery. I
like mysteries. And I am really good at maths. I will do the very clever
maths of observation. Now where do I begin.......ASSUMING OBSERVATION
....... blah blah blah.....

Then off we go into the weeds, YET AGAIN.

FRED just doesn't get the difference between 1-P and 3-P. It's a systemic

I'll just crawl off and fume for a while. I'll be OK soon enough! :-)

Colin Hales
<if you can't formulaically predict/build an observer with what you
produced, you haven't explained observation and you don't really understand

ronaldheld wrote:

    Any comments?

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