On 6/11/2012 10:19 PM, Pierz wrote:
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
> new topic.
> It seems to me an obvious corollary of comp that there is in
> (3p) only one observer, a single subject that undergoes all
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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.
A few comments. What is the process or relation that defines the
"I"? If there is one "I", as you discuss here, would not that "I" have
experiences that are mutually contradictory? How would this not do
damage to the idea that a conscious experience is an integrated whole
and thus contains no contradiction?
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
what *the others* don't want you do to them".
In fact, unless you defend your life, just respect the possible
"No Thanks". (It is more complex with the children, you must add
nuances like "as far as possible").
I don't see how your version of the Golden Rule would work out,
Bruno. What about people that do not want me to charge them for goods
and services that I do for them? How can one possibly know in advance
what it is the *the others* want you to not do to them?
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!
A good point! But how is it consistent with the previous comment?
> Of course, if comp is true, moral action becomes meaningless in
> 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
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.
Exactly how does one access this "outside view"? So far, I have
only seen discussion of 3p as a simulation or abstraction, never an
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!
It seems to me that the "everything happens" case is a mutual
contradictory mess that simply cancels itself out.
"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."
~ Francis Bacon
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