On 08/03/11 16:14, Brent Meeker wrote:
On 3/8/2011 3:14 AM, Andrew Soltau wrote:
What I am driving at here is the same question as in the email Comp. Granted that all possible states exist, what changes the point of the present moment from one to another. My referring to 'the thinker' was probably not a helpful metaphor. Given the universal numbers, what carries out the process whereby one is transformed into another? What makes the state of the thinker or the dreamer into the state of that entity at the next moment?


I think the idea is analogous to the block universe. In Platonia all the states of "the thinker" and his relation to the world are "computed" in a timeless way.
OK. But for any given definition of the thinker, there is a version of the world to which he corresponds. Whether considered as a physical entity, or a mind or a record of observations, I am instantiated in a specific version of the universe. On observation, this state changes. The observer is now in a new and different state, and is instantiated in a new and different version of the universe.

If one steps back and looks at all the possible states of the thinker, existing in all the different corresponding states of the universe at each moment, the result is the movie film Barbour refers to. This is a timeless situation.

The impression of time for "the thinker" is recovered by putting the states into a sequence which is implicitly defined by their content.
So then you have a sequence, but still nothing actually happens. This is exactly the scenario Deutsch addresses.

/Nothing/ can move from one moment to another. To exist at all at a particular moment means to exist there for ever. (1997, 263; his italics)

One seems to pass from moment to moment, experiencing change. Deutsch, however, declares that this can only be an illusion.

We do not experience time flowing, or passing. What we experience are differences between our present perceptions and our present memories of past perceptions. We interpret those differences, correctly, as evidence that the universe changes with time. We also interpret them, incorrectly, as evidence that our consciousness, or the present, or something, moves through time. (1997, 263)

Physically, this is unassailable. However, we can explain the appearance of change very neatly, by saying that the frame of reference is changed, from one moment to the next to the next, with no change in anything physical. The only drawback is that this requires something 'outside' of the moments, and there is nothing outside the multiverse. The solution I propose is that phenomenal consciousness is an emergent property of this unitary system as a whole. In other words, this process is to the moments the way the computational capability of a computer is to the frames of a movie in solid state memory. Based on that, my belief is that, in the collapse dynamics of quantum mechanics, we have discovered evidence for a property of the unitary system in action, we just haven't recognised it as such. Which is why it gives rise to all the puzzles it does.


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