From: <james.higgo.domain.name.hidden>
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 20:57 0000

Hello everythingers

I offer some random, disorganised points on the last few days'

Bruno, you want to say mater is a subset of mind, wheras I said
mind was a subset of matter. This is a semantic point. I adopt
your terminology if you prefer.

Bruno, Russell, Jacques - you correct me where I ask what is
50% of infinity. OK, I'm wrong on this. But this measure stuff
and 'instantiating' discussion is a red herring.

Bruno, I will think about who might translate your fine thesis.

On physical law: these are simply the conditions which must
hold if we are to continue to exist.

Jacques Mallah, we don't care about our measure, we only
care if we should buy a tontine in the knowledge that we will
benefit from it in 100, 1000, 10'1000 years. We know that in
some branches we will, but we don't know if we will experience
a smooth flow of consciousness which will inevitably mean we
awake one morning to find ourselves 1000 years old.
Obviously we don't intend to try to commit suicide (at least until
this issue is resolved).

Hal, I agree with your rebuttal of Jacques M, but would point
out that 'the measure of those branches of the world in which
you are alive afterwards is less than the measure of the branch
in which you attempted the suicide' is drawing on a number of
ill-defined and ambigous concepts, such as 'you' and
'afterwards'. You may find that the real paradox is in these
seemingly-innocent words.

Incidentally, The Doomsday Argment is flawed because it
assumes a single, determined future when in fact there are
many alternative, determined futures so you are both near the
end of the world and trillions of years from it.

Wei Dai correctly points out that the universes in which you no
longer exist are relevant to you, but only if you are a 'gene
machine' or if you care about those who care about you.

Gilles, I agree strongly that 'consciousness is not an objective
property.... but a functionality' but you do not need i/os -
interfaces with some external reality - because other mental
objects can act on yet other mental objects. Budhist thinking
about consciousness is helpful here, as is Liebnitz.

Gilles is then very insightful in pointing out that there is no easy
way of defining whether you exist in a certain universe. In fact,
if we assume consciousness is a *process* - ie. requiring time -
then it does not exist in any single universe but is a
phenomenon only of groups of universes, taking the Deutsch
view of time as I do.

Gilles, in his post of 21 Jan, puts his finger on what I consider
to be the crucial issue. Rainer Plaga tells me that vacuum
collapses are a predicted consequence of certain well-
accepted theories and their absence is traditionally explained
by the anthropic principle.

Hal, the shutting down of a conscious computer is in itself a
process requiring time.

Some very interesting ideas to which I shall return once I have
absorbed all Dennett has to say on consciousness.

Received on Fri Jan 22 1999 - 13:03:47 PST

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