On 11/18/2012 8:12 PM, Russell Standish wrote:
On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 07:48:57PM -0500, Stephen P. King wrote:
Hi Russell,

     I agree with this view, especially the part about the
compatibility of bases leading to a 'sharing of realities' that then
gives rise to an illusion of a single classical reality; I just
phrase the concepts differently. My question to you is how 'simple'
can an observer be, as a system? It seems to me that even particles
could be considered as observers. I buy Chalmers' argument for

I doubt that very much, as if true, then we should expect to find
ourselves as particles, which is the Occam's catastrophe redux I point
out in my book.

Hi Russell,

And how could we know that we are not particles dreaming that we are humans? Particles are, after all, just an artifact of a particular basis that some set of "observers with compatible bases can sharing their realities". Is a reality something that is 1p in your thinking? It isn't in my thinking but I'll put that aside for now. That is a very interesting point and I have long wondered about the distribution arguments (ala Bostrum <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Bostrom#Simulation_hypothesis>) and Occam's catastrophe <http://www.mail-archive.com/everything-list@googlegroups.com/msg22943.html>. It seems to me that there is something that is being assumed about consciousness in those reasonings, something that is being taken for granted. (For one thing, the Solomonoff-Levin distribution assumes a universal ensemble that is very much like Leibniz' pre-established harmony and thus problematic as it is not computable <http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Algorithmic_probability>. Bruno's rejection of infinities seems to disallow for such priors to work for comp, IMHO.) I think that we can think of this cryptic idea that there is somehow a difference of the 'we' or, more correctly, the 'I' that is, as I claim, instantiated in a electron or an ant or a human or a giant Black Cloud and that this difference can somehow be remembered and passed along in continuations. It is the one complaint that I have with reincarnation theories, the idea that some memories that can only be defined with reference to physical bodies can be continued. I think that the 'I' is not much different from the center of mass of physics. The C.o.M. does not really exist at all as a substance or physical object and yet it has causal efficacy in some way... Could be that consciousness is being assumed to be some kind of substance that has persistent existence, like material substances in Parmenidean and Aristotelian science? What if this assumption is 'not even wrong'? What happens to the center of mass of an aggregate when the members of that aggregate are altered? What if consciousness is not a 'thing', but is a 'process' - something more like a 'stream <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nonwellfounded-set-theory/#sectionstreams>'. Computer science has no problem with streams that I know of... I am trying to get Bruno to consider streams, as he does seem to be OK with Quine atoms (which are the canonical case of a stream!) Are you assuming that consciousness is somehow independent of bodies, ala Bruno's immaterialism of numbers? Isn't this just an obscure form of Cartesian dualism that just argues away the existence of the 'res extensa' as being, as per Bruno's argument, something that Occam's razor cuts out of ontology and thus are left with a 'arithmetic body problem' where the 'res extensa <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Res_extensa>' used to be?

I suspect that as human beings, we rank amongst the simplest of all
possible observers.

Is this because of your argument that self-awareness is necessary for consciousness? Maybe you are right but thinking of it backwards; could you consider that there is a difference between being able to 'know' that one is conscious and simply being conscious? I think that Craig is making the case that 'sense' or raw 'something that is like being in the world' is not separable from the 'being in the world'. What we have is the case where the 'simulation of the entity' is the entity itself; yet this wording does violence to the concept that I have been trying to explain.

The best explanation that I have to point to is Kaufman and Zuckerman & Miranker's Russell operator idea and the Quine atom as a formal mathematical concept and its identification of the object with itself. It cannot be understood so long as one is embedded in the vision of the universe as being well founded and 'regular <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axiom_of_regularity>' - that there are a single set of 'irreducible' parts that make it up. It amazes me that the ideas of those Greek guys from 2000 years ago still carry so much influence over our thinking!



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