On 3/29/2012 9:20 PM, David Nyman wrote:
On 29 March 2012 20:47, meekerdb<meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
You don't know that. It's an assumption based on the idea that conscious
experience is something a certain physical body, a brain, does. But if
conscious experience is a process then it is certainly possible to create a
process that is aware of being in both Washington and Moscow at the same
time. Think of a brain wired via RF links to eyeballs in M and W. Or The
Borg of Star Trek. Of course that experience would be strange and we would
tend to say, "Yes but it's still one consciousness." So then the question
becomes what do you mean by not experiencing duplication? Is it a mere
tautology based on how you define 'consciousness'?
Surely it's just a necessary prerequisite for accepting the
possibility of either MWI or comp? IOW, if one rejects, on whatever
grounds, that a unique subjective perspective could be consistent with
the objective existence of multiple copies (as I think is the case
with Kent) then one is forced also to reject both MWI and comp. Given
such a view, neither theory could be a viable explanation for one's
lived experience of observing "one universe at a time".
AFAICS, the more exotic examples you give above, e.g. a distributed
process, or a Borg-type group-mind, present no difficulties beyond
that for "ordinary" consciousness. Again, either one accepts that
duplication of these states of affairs would be compatible, mutatis
mutandis, with the corresponding "single universe" perspective
(however exotic) or not.
Given the above, what makes it difficult to make sense of John's
objections to Bruno's argument is precisely that he accepts the
possibility of multiple copies in a comp or MWI scenario, whilst
ignoring the necessity of recovering a singular perspective. But the
latter step is a prerequisite, in any scenario, for reproducing the
empirically uncertain state of affairs. Without it, the "probability"
of every outcome - as John has continually reiterated - can only ever
"Selection", even if only implicit, is an ineliminable feature of any
theory seeking to explain the empirical facts. Kent's proposal is a
process that eliminates all branches but one, albeit on a somewhat
different basis than Copenhagen. Similarly, the heuristic I suggested
in an earlier post entails "selection", but in a non-destructive
manner. BTW, I had long retained a dim recollection of a similar
selection metaphor involving "pigeon holes" from my youthful SF
reading, which I recently re-discovered to be Fred Hoyle's 1960's
novella "October the First is Too Late". I also found that John
Gribbin refers to this very notion in his recent Multiverse book
(apparently he was a student of Hoyle's), relating it to the ideas of
Deutsch and Barbour. This reinforced my suspicion that they do rely
implicitly on such a selection principle, though AFAICS neither of
them acknowledge it explicitly.
Hi David and Brent,
I have a question. Could it be that the "sense of self as
being-in-the-world" (ala Nagel's bat) is a phenomenon not at all unlike
the uniqueness of a fixed point
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixed_point_%28mathematics%29> on a
manifold? It seems to me that one of the key aspects of the sense of
self or "I" that it is unique in its association with its location and
its memories. Being in two places at the same time would at least be
confusing, Try navigating with a combination of two maps - overlay the
maps of Washington and Moscow and try to figure out where you are.
I offer the movie "12 Monkeys
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12_Monkeys>" as a fictional narrative
exploring what happens when one's localization is split in the time
sense. In my studies, I have considered how the various pathologies of
consciousness sketch for us some of the fundamental aspects of
consciousness in a 3-p'ish way. For example, the various dissassociative
disorders ranging from phantom limb to multiple personality disorders
and schizophrenia tell us that an individual's sense of self is strongly
correlated with the synchronization of both temporal and spatial queues
both internal to the brain and of a person's location. Thus "being in
two places at the same time" is not that much different from "having two
sets of sense data that are disjoint" (in the being in Moscow and
Washington) such that unless a single reconciliation of the two is
possible, there will be inevitably a splitting of the "I"'s or 1-p.
BTW, this line of reasoning argues strongly against the "Borg"
group-mind idea as possibly yielding a consciousness of the same kind as
the one that we have because of the inability to define a single "point
of view" given the wide and even disjoint nature of the panorama of
sense data that would be involved. Consciousness is, I argue, fixed to a
single point and cannot be distributed. Distributed behavior would more
correlate to what the psychologist like to call "the unconscious".
Consciousness, or at least self-aware-consciousness, emerges from the
unconscious only if and when a fixed point like function can be defined
on it. (Compactness and closure properties must exist...)
Speaking of SciFi writers, I recommend books by James P. Hogan,
such as Paths to Otherwhere
and The Proteus Operation
which consider some aspects of the questions that we are asking here.
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