On 22/01/11 08:44, Bruno Marchal wrote:
Hi Andrew,

On 21 Jan 2011, at 16:08, Andrew Soltau wrote:


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 athttp://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/5554/

Most agree with your kind of indexical analysis here, I think. But what is your theory of mind? It has been shown that if you take the computationalist theory of mind, then you have to develop such analysis to arithmetic. You have to extend the "now" in the quantum waves, to the "now" in arithmetic (or in any first order extension of any universal (in Turing sense) system). This gives a frame where the physical laws originates from number's dreams gluing conditions. The unitary evolution has a reason, and is itself an emerging secondary phenomenon. It *has* to be like that for respecting the constraints of the comp hypothesis. And there is a net advantage: we get both the logic of observable quanta and 'experientiable' qualia by the machine's reflexion on its incompleteness. There is disadvantage. We are lead to difficult mathematical problems. But the contrary would have been astonishing. One of those problems has been solved, though. See my URL and the archive of this list for more.

Bruno Marchal
http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/ <http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/%7Emarchal/>

Hi Bruno

I have read your paper The first person computationalist indeterminacy, and find myself in complete agreement. I think my view goes a little 'further'.

Again, as briefly as I can:

In my view Everett has already done all the heavy lifting. He defines the functional identity of the observer as the state of the memory, defined in turn as the record of sensory observations and machine configuration. The two components are highly familiar to us.

The record of sensory observations of the world is a structure of information with which every observer is intensely familiar; this is the known world. This is the structure of information defining the virtual reality the observer knows as 'the world'. I call it the world hologram. (I have made up phrases for several phenomena because I have not found simple labels for them in the existing literature I have discovered.)

The record of machine configuration in a human observer cannot be a full and complete record of the state of the neural system from moment to momet, for obvious reasons. But if one takes the sensorium as the interface between experiencer and experienced, the record of machine configurations is simply the record of the representations of the state of the body-mind in the sensorium. Thus the record of machine configuration is a structure of information equally intensely familiar to us, the self identity avatar figure in the world hologram, aka me.

In my view, Everett simply defines, as the functional identity of the observer, the experiential reality meaning the known world, with the self identity avatar at its centre. I'm very happy to go along with that as it seems to fit the experiential facts.

Clearly, the world hologram is simply a structure of information in the mind of the observer, in turn instantiated in the body of the observer, one's usual concept of identity. However, the same identical world hologram is instantiated in a very large number of versions of the effective physical environment - all those that instantiate an observer with that record of sensory observations and machine configuration. In an Everettian no-collapse universe, all exist. Thus the effective physical environment of this structure of information is the simultaneous reality of all of these versions of the environment, a phenomenon I call 'universe superposition'. The result is an effective physical environment determinate only where observed by this observer, as in Rovelli's RQM. This is examined in detail in The World Hologram

The cut in the von Neumann chain is here made at the level of the sensorium. Thus only that which has been observed in the sensorium is determinate in the effective physical environment, and all else is indeterminate. This of course means that the body itself where not observed is, like the rest of the environment of the world hologram, indeterminate except where observed. The same goes even for the mind as usually conceptualised. Only those attributes of mind observed in terms of sensory experience, thoughts, feelings, and the attributes that can be inferred from the history of observations of the body-mind, are determinately so of this observer, and all else is indeterminate. The result is exactly the reality one is familiar with.

We think of ourselves as minds in bodies, and recognise that almost all of the hundred trillion or so cell structure is unknown to us except in the most broad brush terms, and the same goes for the mind. If we take Everett at face value, it is only what is observed in the sensorium that is determinate, and thus forms part of the genuine identity, all else being indeterminate in this version of this reality - the effective physical environment. Using the language of your paper The first person computationalist indeterminacy, and equating the functional identity of the observer with the world hologram: for any part of our mind, other than the structure of information defining the world hologram itself, there exist a level of description such that those parts can be said functional, and thus substitutable by functionally equivalent prosthesis, so that the subject experimenting that substitution will not experience any changes.

The algorithm of the experiential reality is simplicity itself, being the one Everett addresses. The time evolution of the world hologram progresses with the addition of each observation. This is the collapse dynamics, which is experienced subjectively as change of the environment. All possible neural, or other, computational algorithms that could give rise to this addition of this observation to this world hologram are instantiated in the no-collapse universe, and all are included in the universe superposition of environments instantiating this observer making this observation, ie making this transition from one moment in the quantum concept of time to the next. (thus all simulations of the reality of this observer are included in the universe superposition, along with all possible physical instantiations of it, which is handy when considering quantum immortality in a wider sense than usually taken.)

The experiential reality evolves in time in accordance with the standard von Neumann-Dirac formulation. In between observations, the linear dynamics proceeds, subjectively even if not objectively, and as it does so the next observation is formulated in the sensorium. On the formulation of the next observation, the world hologram changes, as does the universe superposition, the physical reality of this structure of information, meaning simply the effective physical environment. As Everett avers, objectively, all possible versions of this observation take place in the linear dynamics, but subjectively, with respect to each idiosyncratic version of the world hologram, a specific observation is determinately made. Tegmark clarifies this distinction as being Everett's brilliant exposition on the difference between the inside and outside views of a quantum state.

The period of time between observations is the specious present, which, it turns out in this context, is not specious! That is the now in the experiential reality. A grossly oversimplified algorithm of experiential reality is given at the end of Logical Types in Quantum Mechanics at

The fundamental computational process of the unitary system is simply the timebase, the movement of the experiential frame of reference along the linear time dimension of spacetime, as described by Penrose (at lightspeed, as described by Greene). The moving of this now is the algorithmic process. while(1){t=t+1;}

Given simply that algorithm, in the context of the unitary linear dynamics, you get the appearance of collapse, to observers, defined as the state of the memory of the observer, as Everett demonstrates. It seems to me that if to that you add phenomenal consciousness as an epiphenomenon of the fundamental system process, you get the sum total of what we are experiencing.

In my view, we are world holograms, virtual realities, each in a physical reality determinate only where defined by observations formulated in the sensorium. The other observers one encounters are icons, in the virtual reality, of other observers, similarly defining their own versions of the effective physical environment. In one's personal parallel reality, one has a very different status to other observers in that reality, being the determinant of that reality. In my reality, only I am truly real, as in solipsism. On the other hand, all observers are very clearly equally real and existent, so I call it multisolipsism.

Andrew Soltau

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