On 7/15/2012 2:34 AM, meekerdb wrote:
On 7/14/2012 7:26 PM, Stephen P. King wrote:
On 7/14/2012 8:47 PM, meekerdb wrote:
On 7/14/2012 9:48 AM, Stephen P. King wrote:
No, the reverse is the case. The "belongs to an infinity of computations making you singling out some stable patterns" requires the prior existence of the "you" to select it. The observer (you here) effectively is the measure via a self-selection rule. I cannot discount my own existence given the immediate fact that I am experiencing myself as existing. Descartes' Cognito ergo Sum is a pointed statement of this unassailable fact. We cannot put the observer on a level that is emerging from the computations if the observer is the one that is selecting the class of computations that are generating said observer.

How does this comport with Everett's QM which has it that there is no unique, persistent "you" to do the selecting. It seems a simple matter of logic that any theory which sets out to explain consciousness cannot assume an observer, on pain of circularity.


Interesting. So the unitary evolution of the SWF or state vector is not continuous over its spectrum or what ever it is called ... the cover or span of the basis?

It's continuous, but decoherence picks out different subspaces which are almost perfectly orthogonal and correspond to different classical events. There's a different "you" in each of these subspaces corresponding to seeing Schrodinger's cat alive or dead.

Hi Brent,

Does not seem as if decoherence is a bit too clever by half? I am very interested in this process that we are calling decoherence. Where does it get this ability to "pick out different subspaces which are almost perfectly orthogonal"? I was operating under the belief that all of the vectors (in the Hilbert space involved) are strictly orthogonal and are so perpetually. Where do these "subspaces" come from? Are they defined by subsets of the state vectors (or eigenvectors)? How is the diffeomorphism invariance (that the unitary evolution is equivalent to!) get preserved in this process? How does "tracing out" eliminate things?

I completely fail to understand your claim here. Could you elaborate on your ideas here. I am interested in your expertise. I am just a very annoying but well meaning student.

You do understand that absent circularity it is impossible for consciousness to exist. Go through Descartes' /_Meditations_/ and slow down on the part about "can I doubt my own existence?" He was not the first to notice that circularity is the hall mark of consciousness. Why is circularity a bad thing. Please Remind me, I seem to have forgotten.

That's self-reference, not circularity of explanation.

Oh, sure. Explanations that require themselves to be true are the logical version of a perpetual motion machine, we agree on that, but self-reference is hard to pull apart from explanations in the most general sense. Is not the example that Bruno makes about interviewing a Loebian machine not involve an explanation by the machine of knowledge. It could very well be that the "ego" or "self" is just a suped-up explanation from a (infinite) set of computations to itself.

Actually I'm not particularly against circular explanations - provided the circle is big enough to take everything in. This idea was suggested to me by Bruno, though he disavows it. Suppose you had very good (comprehensive, accurate, predictive,...) explanations denoted by "->" that connected domains like this:


and assuming this circle encompasses everything, then that might be the best TOE we can achieve. Maybe there is nothing that is FUNDAMENTAL, at least within the scope of our understanding.

That bit about "there is nothing that is FUNDAMENTAL" is exactly the point that I am trying to get across to Bruno. I am arguing that for anything to be fundamental, it has some restrictions to deal with. It has to be ontologically neutral, and that is a tall order for numbers! Numbers are the essence of "exactly thing and nothing else". This in and of itself make them incapable of being NEUTRAL! The only exception is 0.

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not
certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to
        -- Albert Einstein

    I just love that guy!



"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."
~ Francis Bacon

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