RE: Are First Person prime?

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2006 14:20:06 +1000

Peter Jones writes:

> > > > But the important point is that the temporal sequence does not itself make a difference
> > > > to subjective experience.
> > >
> > > We don't actually know that it is possible that
> > > there might be some flicker effect.
> >
> > Not necessarily. I'm suggesting that the actual physical events are *exactly* the same,
> > just their order is different. If the world were created 5 minutes ago, complete with
> > fossils, ruins, false memories etc., you could not be aware of this on the basis of any
> > observation - by definition, otherwise the illusion would not be perfect. This is of course
> > no reason to believe that the world was created 5 minutes ago; but it does mean that
> > the absence of a sensation of having just flickered into existence is no evidence *against*
> > this theory.
> My original point stands. There is no evidence *for* the theory. If
> the present
> state is determined by more than a 0-width time slice preceding it,
> then
> a physical process cannot be arbitrarily sliced up.

Your original point was that the continuous flow of consciousness is evidence against a block
universe. It is not, whether the time slices are of finite or infinitesimal duration. I'm not sure
what you mean by the last sentence either: are you suggesting that time is quantised rather
than continuous, and if so how is that evidence against a block universe?

> Computationalism does not help, because computationalism requries
> counterfactuals.

I don't see why it does, or why it makes any difference to the present question if it does.
> > > > Would you say that it is in theory possible for the subjective
> > > > passage of time to be as we know it if the blocks were not infinitesimal, but lasted for
> > > > a second, so that the whole ensemble of blocks lasted for a second?
> > >
> > > There is still duration within blocks
> >
> > Yes, and...
> >
> > > > Then what if you
> > > > make the blocks shorter in duration and larger in number, progressively down to
> > > > infinitely many blocks of infinitesimal duration: is there room for dynamism in an
> > > > infenitesimal interval?
> > >
> > > There are such things as infintiessimal velocities...
> >
> > So if there is room for movement in infinitesimal intervals (or through combination of
> > infinitesimal intervals) in a linear theory of time, why not with a block universe?
> A block universe with movement is just as dynamic universe
> (specifically,
> a growing universe).

The effect of movement would be the same in a block universe as in a linear universe. If time
is discrete then in a linear universe movement is the result of a series of static frames of finite
duration, like the frames in a film. If time is continuous then in a linear universe movement is the
result of a series of static frames of infinitesimal duration. There is no room for movement within
a frame in either case - that is what defines it as a frame - but the series of frames creates the
effect of movement.

Stathis Papaioannou

Be one of the first to try Windows Live Mail.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at
Received on Sat Aug 19 2006 - 00:22:07 PDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:12 PST