On 11 Jun 2012, at 03:12, Pierz wrote:

I'm starting this as a new thread rather than continuing under 'QTI and eternal torment', where this idea came up, because it's really a new topic. It seems to me an obvious corollary of comp that there is in reality (3p) only one observer, a single subject that undergoes all possible experiences. In a blog post I wrote a while back (before I learned about comp) I put forward this 'one observer' notion as the only solution to a paradox that occurred to me when thinking about the idea of cryogenic freezing and resuscitation. I started wondering how I could know whether the consciousness of the person being resuscitated was the 'same consciousness' (whatever that means) as the consciousness of the person who was frozen. That is, is a new subject created with all your memories (who will of course swear they are you), or is the new subject really you? This seems like a silly or meaningless point until you ask yourself the question, "If I am frozen and then cryogenicaly resurrected should I be scared of bad experiences the resurrected person might have?" Will they be happening to *me*, or to some person with my memories and personality I don't have to worry about? It becomes even clearer if you imagine dismantling and reassembling the brain atom by atom. What then provides the continuity between the pre- dismantled and the reassembled brain? It can only be the continuity of self-reference (the comp assumption) that makes 'me' me, since there is no physical continuity at all. But let's say the atoms are jumbled a little at reassembly, resulting in a slight personality change or the loss of some or all memories. Should I, about to undergo brain disassembly and reassembly, be worried about experiences of this person in the future who is now not quite me? What then if the reassembled brain is changed enough that I am no longer recognizable as me? Following this through to its logical conclusion, it becomes clear that the division between subjects is not absolute. What separates subjectivities is the contents of consciousness (comp would say the computations being performed), not some kind of other mysterious 'label' or identifier that marks certain experiences as belonging to one subject and not another (such as, for instance, being the owner of a specific physical brain). I find this conclusion irresistible - and frankly terrifying. It's like reincarnation expanded to the infinite degree, where 'I' must ultimately experience every subjective experience (or at least every manifested subjective experience, if I stop short of comp and the UD). What it does provide is a rationale for the Golden Rule of morality. Treat others as I would have them treat me because they *are* me, there is no other! If we really lived with the knowledge of this unity, if we grokked it deep down, surely it would change the way we relate to others. And if it were widely accepted as fact, wouldn't it lead to the optimal society, since everyone would know that they will be/are on the receiving end of every action they commit? Exploitation is impossible since you can only steal from yourself.

I can agree, but it is not clear if it is assertable (it might belong to variant of G*, and not of G making that kind of moral proposition true but capable of becoming false if justified "too much", like all protagorean virtues (happiness, free-exam, intelligence, goodness, etc.). Cf "hell is paved with good intentions".

Also, a masochist might become a sadist by the same reasoning, which, BTW, illustrates that the (comp) moral is not "don't do to the others what you don't want the others do to you", but "don't do to the others what *the others* don't want you do to them". In fact, unless you defend your life, just respect the possible adult "No Thanks". (It is more complex with the children, you must add nuances like "as far as possible").




Of course, if comp is true, moral action becomes meaningless in one sense since everything happens anyway, so you will be on the receiving end of all actions, both good and bad.

This is true from outside, but not from inside, where the good/bad is relative to you, and you can change the proportion of good and bad in your accessible neighborhoods. And it is obligatory like that by comp, making moral locally sense-full.

Looking at the big picture for the moral is as much senseless as justifying a murder by referring to the obedience to the physical laws. It does not work because we precisely don't usually live in the big picture. We are locally embed in it, and that plays the key local role for any practical matter.

Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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