On Saturday, June 9, 2012 12:27:43 PM UTC+10, Brent wrote:
>  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 wi
> th 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 Einst
> ein'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.  

I don't see how comp allows consciousness to be derived from physics, since 
comp assumes consciousness supervenes on computations that Bruno shows must 
be defined purely mathematically. But that aside, I'm not entirely sold on 
comp. Logic won't prove it - I think we all accept that - so while I can't 
refute comp, neither do I see myself forced to accept it. I remain agnostic 
on ontological questions, but I incline to a view of consciousness (not 
arithmetic) as primary. The gulf between the subjective and the objective 
remains mysterious and unbridged - what does "qualia are what computations 
feel like from the inside" really mean? Why is there an inside at all? To 
me, it's all just a little too neat - a simple package that seals up the 
universe inside it and declares it solved, but in a way that amounts to 
little more than saying "everything happens" - a supremely permissive 
explanatory context! But anyway, that's all a well-eaten can of worms. The 
point I'm making above is about the logic of the cited paper and is talking 
about MWI not comp.

> 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.
Sure. In comp, the cessation of 'you' is merely an abrupt change in the 
state of certain computational threads. Identity is merely the continuity 
of self reference, and there are many ways, death being one of them 
(possibly), in which such continuity might be disrupted. It's one solution 
to the paradox I mention.

> Brent

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