On 1 October 2013 18:34, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
> But then it seems one needs the physical, or at least the subconscious. If
> one conceives a "subjective moment" as just what one is conscious of in "a
> moment" it doesn't encode very much of the past. And in the digital
> simulation paradigm the computational state doesn't encode any of it. So I
> think each conscious "moment" must have considerable extent in (physical)
> time so as to overlap and provide continuity. Of course physical time need
> not correspond in any simple way to computational steps.
I can only agree. I think that Hoyle deliberately didn't try to
over-define what he meant by the contents of one of his pigeon holes
and indeed one could make the same comment about the related notion of
an observer moment. My characterisation of its structure is simply
intended to draw attention to what is implicit in the assumptions -
i.e. that it entails sufficient "information", however encoded, to
encapsulate (not necessarily entirely, or even predominantly,
consciously, as you correctly point out) an identity, a situation, and
a history. That said, this seems at the least not inconsistent with
our current understanding of neural function; indeed, most
particularly, with respect to its dis-function, in which specific
aspects of identity, situation and history are all too apt suddenly to
disappear - well, from moment to moment.
As you say, how all this might map in detail to physical or
computational structures is somewhat obscure, to put it mildly. The
role of the "flow" of experiential time is especially intriguing and
in idle moments I sometimes fall to speculating on how it might play
out in terms of Hoyle's metaphor. One thing that seems clear is that,
for the metaphor to make sense, one must assume an irreducible dynamic
already implicit in the relation between present and past occasions
assumed to be encoded as a whole within a singular (specious) "present
moment". That is, as you say above, "each conscious "moment" must have
considerable extent in (physical) time so as to overlap and provide
continuity". The reason for this stipulation, of course, is that the
abstract "transitions" between one moment and another are not
themselves conceived as being encoded within the structure of any
Hence the conceptual role of transition is, in the first place, to
establish a singular abstract experiential "fixed point" and, in the
second, to delimit experiential content within the span of each of a
mutually-exclusive succession of observer moments. Conceived thus, it
cannot represent a "flow of time" between such moments; it represents
merely an unbiased serialisation, or selection, over the entire class
of such moments. Consequently any such "flow", as already stipulated,
must either be encoded in the structure of each moment or not at all.
Curiously, the experiencing subjects, that are thus momentarily
individuated, nonetheless seemingly cannot help being wedded to the
notion - indeed to the local illusion - that there "really is" some
such continuing transition, despite its unobservability in principle;
after all, the alternative would seem to be an infinity of monadic
subjects trapped forever, each in a single moment. Considered thus, I
think, Hoyle's metaphor allows one to speak genuinely of the illusion
of a flow of time while giving at least a conceptual account of how
such a trick might be managed.
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