On 6/8/2012 7:02 PM, Pierz wrote:
I don't know, somehow this whole argument is not something I could take seriously enough to get worked up over - too many what ifs piled up on other what ifs. But I think I see a couple of flaws in this argument. Firstly, I am not sure about the equation of unconsciousness with death. Why should coma be any different from deep sleep - i.e. a state of minimal consciousness which one cannot remember in retrospect but which nevertheless is a legitimate 1p view? One does not miraculously avoid sleep each night (well, come to think of it, I do, but that's another story!). I think this is the point Bruno is making. But there's a deeper problem I think with the idea of avoiding the 'vicinity' of death. QI says you can never end up on a branch in which you are dead. That's clear enough - so long as you grant that death is 'no-point-of-view', i.e., there is no no afterlife. But *someone* ends up on all the branches, so long as there is a point of view associated with them. Even if there is a cul-de-sac branch in which the probability of death is 100%, some version of you goes down that track. So right up until the very brink of death, you should expect your experience to follow the probabilities given by normal physics and statistical expectations. You can't, by QI, 'foresee' that a branch is a cul-de-sac in advance and so trim it out of your possible futures. But because there is always a finite, if vanishingly small, probability of not dying, one might expect that one will always find oneself 'sliding along the edge of death' so to speak, always just barely avoiding oblivion. But this is reminiscent of Zeno's paradox. How can one's experience follow normal statistical rules right up until a certain limit, then diverge from them to an ever greater, more improbable extent? QI is another of the absurd paradoxes that arises when trying to reconcile objectivity and subjectivity. I think we'd be better adopting something analogous to Einstein's assumption with regard to speed - namely that the laws of physics appear the same to us regardless of our velocity. By the same type of reasoning, we should assume that the laws of statistical probability (physics) will continue to apply at every point of our experience, even at liminal points like death. I personally favour the idea of primary consciousness, so I'm quite happy with the idea that 1p experience bridges death. If you don't swallow that, I suppose the onus is on you to explain away the paradox by some other means.
Even if computation is fundamental and physics is derivative, that still leaves consciousness as derivative too and possibly derivative from physics. If 'you' is identified with certain computations, some of which constitute your consciousness it is still the case that there are a great many threads of computation that are *not* you, so it is possible that all those threads that are 'you' stop being you, e.g. you're dead. Of course it may be that the threads constituting 'you' approach some simple state so that the closest continuation is the simple computational thread of a lizard, bacterium, or fetus. So you now can think of 'you' as continuing in this way - although it becomes rather arbitrary which lizard you will be.
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