An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

From: <>
Date: Fri, 04 May 2007 03:07:54 -0000

Been thinking about Bruno's often talked 1st person/3rd Person
division. Had a series of insights that seem to connect up to some
ideas of my own.

Essentially my idea resolves around 'coarse graining' and the
possibility that there is more than one valid way to define
causality. On this and other lists I've often talked about the idea
that there is more than one sort of time and discussed ideas relating
to 3 dimensional time. But it was just vague speculation. Now my
early intuitions have crystallized somewhat.

It seems to me that 'coarse graining' could provide a means for time
to 'stratify' into different levels. Now let me elaborate a little.
Coarse graining is the 'level of detail' at which we observe reality.
If we observe reality 'with a magnifying glass' as it were, we see
lots of details. As we 'zoom out' and observe more higher level
general features of reality, detailed information is lost. The
question is: Is it really true that the higher level descriptions of
reality are completely *reducible* to the lower level descriptions of
reality? (See for instance 'Non-reductive physicalism'). The idea
here is that 'the higher level' dsecriptions come about because of
coarse graining and that there are features of these higher level
descriptions that are not completely reducible to the lower level

Now In UML (Unified Modelling Language), there seems to be an implicit
'stratification' into three different levels of description.

The first level of description is the 'State Model' - here only the
most general (class level) properties of something are given.

The second level of description is the 'Operational Model' - the
functional properties of a system are what the system is actually
doing externally. (ie the systems actions on the external world). But
I noticed that this level of description involves more detail - the
'coarse graining' level has changed - we are 'zooming in' on the
details so to speak.

Finally, the third level of description is the 'State Change Model' -
here we 'zoom in' on the internal details of the causal state changes
in the system.

Big idea: these three levels of description in UML could correspond
directly to 'three different levels' in the real world - from which
could be derived three different definitions of time arising from
coarse graining! In other words, time is stratified into three
different levels.

Here they are:

State Model time: Evolution of the QM wave function: 'branching' of
MWI tree (high level)
Operational time: Observer moments. What a sentient observer sees
(mid level)
State-Change time: Low-level physics time - computational time. (low

The idea is that it's this 'stratification' of time which creates the
1st person/3rd person division. It comes about because there is more
than one valid way to define the flow of time! (causality).

It seems that 1st person time flow corresponds to what I am here
calling 'Operational time'. This is the level of observer moments.
Herein could lie the key to understanding consciousness. You can see
from my scheme that 'Operational time' arises from a 'mid-level coarse
graining'. We view reality at a higher level of description than
standard physics (low-level computational time). When this happens,
information is lost and we no longer have detailed info on the
computations underlying our observer moments (because 'computation' is
defined on a lower level description of reality). This could be the
ultimate cause of 1st person / 3rd person division.

Anyone have any info on 'coarse graining'?

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Received on Thu May 03 2007 - 23:08:10 PDT

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