On 6 July 2012 18:01, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

*I am sure your analysis might help to better apprehend consciousness, and
> can perhaps better handle the amnesia situation. But you have not (yet)
> convinced me that it has to be termed into a new form of *assumed at the
> outset* indeterminacy. The probability of "being me" is a sort of Dirac
> distribution: it is one, for "me", and zero for the others. The probability
> of becoming "me", is perhaps close to one on the transitive closure of the
> computations, and is complex to compute for particular brain instantiation.
> *

Thanks for your detailed critique up to this point, Bruno.  I understand of
course that you are particularly concerned to assess its consistency with
comp.  By contrast, as I have said, my own motivation has been more
generally to find a heuristic for navigating some of the thornier
conceptual puzzles presented by consciousness.  I understand that the kind
of global probability distribution entailed by this notion is poorly
defined in a strict mathematical sense.  The global distribution is simply
assumed ex hypothesi by the stipulation of a class of all sentient moments,
and the "relative probability" of any sub-class of moments is then assumed
to derive from a kind of global frequency-interpretation as a consequence
of the unique "stochastic succession" of moments.  This is essentially what
Hoyle had in mind with his pigeon hole metaphor, and it stands or falls in
terms of its utility as a mode of thought for certain purposes; no more, no

Consequently the "**assumed at the outset* indeterminacy" *just follows
automatically from* *the specification of the heuristic; as moments succeed
each other without extrinsic ordering, the personalised spatio-temporal
characteristics associated with each successive moment have in this sense
no prior determination.  The notion of "succession" here simply grounds the
bare notion of experiential transition, and the consequence of each such
transition is to localise the knower in terms of an underlying "real
system". This system, in turn, can readily be assumed to be as complex as
necessary to account for the unfolding relative scenarios thus recovered.

A feature of this view is that all subsequent notions of indeterminacy are
inherited from a single primitive notion, which is assumed to mediate
*all*questions of who, where, when and relative to what.  For example,
grounds the relative probabilities of the "future outcomes" of individual
persons as well as more general "anthropic" or observer self-selection
issues.  One could see this as a useful conceptual simplification or a step
too far, I guess.  "The probability of being me", seems to be, as you say,
all or nothing; but in terms of the heuristic it is weird but inevitable
that this must always seem to be the case in the context of a given
occasion of experience.  The "probability of becoming me" (or that there
will be a "me" to be) depends, as I think you imply, on the entire web of
relations encoded in the real system.

Thank you again for the critique.  I hadn't really thought to "convince"
you, but you have helped me to test the usefulness of the view under
stress, as it were.  I continue to find it helpful, but I will of course
always be on the look-out for cases where it might seriously mislead.  We
cannot hope for full illumination in such matters, but a small guiding
light can often help us negotiate a conceptual obstacle in the path.


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to