RE: ASSA and Many-Worlds

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 17:00:56 +1100

Brent meeker writes:> > > As I understand it, Bruno's theory is that you are all the > > "consistent continuations" of your consciousness. I'm not exactly sure > > what constitutes a consistent continuation, but it must be something > > other than just sharing memories. At any given time my consciousness is > > accessing only a tiny fraction of my memories. Further I'm continually > > forming and forgetting short-term memories as well as forgetting some > > long-term memories.> > >> > > Basing identity on memory seems inconsistent with supposing that > > identity is some property of consciousness alone. A digital computation > > doesn't depend on memory/data that isn't accessed.> > > > Identity from moment to moment is not just memory, it is the entire > > content of conscious experience, perhaps accessing at any one time only > > a small portion of memory. It may be just a sense that I am the same > > person continuing the same thought as I was a moment ago, or even less > > than this when I am waking up from sleep, for example. At such > > sufficiently vague moments, my consciousness may even be > > indistinguishable with that of many other people in the world, such that > > if I ceased to exist momentarily I would still experience continuity of > > consciousness as if nothing had happened, piggy-backing on someone > > else's thoughts: all equivalent observer moments are internally > > indistinguishable, by definition. However, such a thing could only > > happen momentarily, because very quickly I might reflect on my > > situation, and it is here that having a store of memories, motivations, > > personality style etc. instantly accessible (even if not continuously > > accessed) makes me, me.> > Yes I understand that you would eventually, say when waking from anesthesia, have some memories unique to Stathis Papaioannou. But in the meantime I think you are still you - and not all those other people who shared those vague thoughts in the recovery room. And it can't be because your memories are "instantly accessible"; that's a mere potentiality not a state. If we start to reify potentialities in a multi-verse where we already have a white rabbit problem, we'll really be in trouble.Perhaps even in a minimally conscious state your experiences are specific enough to distinguish them from those of everyone else in a superficially similar state. But what if, through amazing coincidence, you had a 5 second period of consciousness which exactly matched that of a stranger on the other side of the world? During that period it would be impossible to say (from a 1st person perspective) where you were being run or which person you were, in the same way as it would be impossible to say where you were being run if your consciousness were implemented on two computers running in perfect lockstep. Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Sat Jan 27 2007 - 01:01:09 PST

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