On 30 March 2012 03:14, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

> My reading of Kent is that he rejects MWI.  I don't think he believes there
> is a single conscious copy and the rest are zombies; he believes there's
> just one world and it is 'selected' probabilistically.

Yes, I understand that.  My point is that Kent disbelieves (as his
arguments contra Wallace show) that a single conscious perspective is
either logically or naturally consistent with the objective existence
of multiple copies, and it is this disbelief that motivates his
suggestion of an objective selection process to dispose of all but one
of them.  By contrast, the "heuristic" I suggest (i.e. an informal way
of thinking about the situation) is subjective (albeit "impersonally"
so) rather than objective, in the sense that it doesn't involve
eliminating the "unselected" branches.  It is curious to me that
others have seemingly dismissed this possibility because of the
apparent threat of zombies, or what David Albert somewhat gothically
refers to as "mindless hulks".  But there is another way to conceive
this.  In essence, it's the perspective of a "universal consciousness"
with amnesia for states other than those associated with the momentary
selection of a "current history".

>From this perspective, "other people" with whom we interact (including
our own bodies) stand in approximately the role of avatars in a video
game.  It is highly relevant in this regard that the
empirically-discoverable "game physics" never requires the presumption
of conscious states (or indeed anything else outside its own closed
system of transformation rules) in order to explain their behaviour.
The selection of mutually-exclusive moments by the universal mind
might imply that only one of these avatars is "conscious at one time",
but on reflection this corresponds rather precisely to what we are
trying to explain.  Subjectivity is never "simultaneous" as
experienced (which is equivalent to the claim that it can't be
duplicated); the ability to synchronise clock times between different
(objectively characterised) "subjects" is a different matter.

The problem with all this (as Kent makes explicit) is that there is
nothing in the mathematics of the "game physics" that corresponds to
this kind of momentary selection of subjective localisation.
Unfortunately, his own proposal doesn't really solve the underlying
problem, because although it can account, given the experimental
situation, for my seeing spin-up and not spin-down (because the other
doesn't objectively exist any longer) it cannot account for why the
experience is of David making this observation rather than Brent, or
indeed here rather than there, or now rather than then.  Subjective
localisation is simply assumed, or trivialised, as in Einstein's
remark “The distinction between past, present, and future is only a
stubbornly persistent illusion”.

>> 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 in Bruno's transporter experiment there isn't *a* singular perspective,
> there are two different ones.

Now you're "doing a John"!  Sure, there are two different ones
objectively, but there's only one subjectively.  Unless you want to
take the tack of rejecting comp or MWI on that basis (which is a
possibility) this forces you to accept that the existence of two
copies must indeed (somehow) be compatible with your experiencing a
single perspective.  The heuristic I propose makes this unproblematic
AFAICS, though it does indeed force re-consideration of exactly who
"you" are, and invokes the "measure" problem with particular
vengeance.  But that is unavoidable, ISTM, with any proposal in this
domain, as indeed is the determination of subjective localisation as
an ancillary assumption.

>> "Selection", even if only implicit, is an ineliminable feature of any
>> theory seeking to explain the empirical facts.
>
> But then Everett's QM doesn't explain the facts - because there is no
> selection.  That's part of Kent's criticism.

I agree.  It can't explain the facts without selection, on which it
relies implicitly (and I don't understand why this doesn't strike more
people as problematic).  But I also don't believe that Kent's proposal
on its own goes all the way to dealing with the deficiency he exposes,
as I explain above.

David

> On 3/29/2012 6:20 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".
>
>
> My reading of Kent is that he rejects MWI.  I don't think he believes there
> is a single conscious copy and the rest are zombies; he believes there's
> just one world and it is 'selected' probabilistically.
>
>
>
>>
>> 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 in Bruno's transporter experiment there isn't *a* singular perspective,
> there are two different ones.
>
>
>
>> 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
>> be 100%!
>>
>> "Selection", even if only implicit, is an ineliminable feature of any
>> theory seeking to explain the empirical facts.
>
>
> But then Everett's QM doesn't explain the facts - because there is no
> selection.  That's part of Kent's criticism.
>
> Brent
>
>
>> 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.
>>
>> David
>
>
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