On Monday, June 11, 2012 10:46:42 PM UTC+10, Bruno Marchal wrote:
> 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"). 
> I don't know what G* and G are, but I get the gist, and I agree. In fact, 
questions like how to deal with punishment become interesting when 
considered through this 'one subject' lens. When 'I' am the offender, I 
don't want to be punished for my crimes, but 'I' as the victim and the 
broader community think the offender should be. We have to balance 
competing views. Also, there is sense in looking after oneself ahead of 
others to the extent that I of all people am best equipped to look after my 
own needs, and I have the same rights to happiness, material wellbeing etc 
as others. The question is, what course of action brings the greatest good 
if all adopt it as their moral code? It's no use everybody giving away all 
their worldly goods to charity - there will be no-one to receive them!

> >  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. 
> Yes, of course, and I made this exact point in relation to free will and 
determinism. One should not mix up levels. But I think there is still a 
distinction in perspectives if all things occur as opposed to only some. If 
the range of experiences that occur is finite, then my actions one way or 
another will change the sum total of happiness in the experiences I will 
have as the universal subject, whereas in an 'everything happens' model, I 
may still have grounds for moral action, but knowing I go through 
everything anyway seems to make the case for altruism a little less 
compelling! Mind you (and this is my gripe with comp as an explanatory 
framework), it is never clear in an infinite field what local conditions 
might apply. Perhaps we live in a universe created by an old testament god 
who thinks its an abomination for a man to lie with a man or to eat goat's 
flesh on Wednesdays. Such a possibility cannot be excluded because of the 
infinite calculation depth of the UD - indeed somewhere in a universe just 
like ours, that is the case!

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

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