Re: Asifism revisited.

From: David Nyman <>
Date: Sat, 7 Jul 2007 22:56:48 +0100

On 05/07/07, Torgny Tholerus <> wrote:

> For us humans are the universes that contain observers more
> interesting. But there is no qualitaive difference between universes
> with observers and universes without observers. They all exist in the
> same way.

I still disagree, but I have a slightly different formulation of my
previous replies which might be more consistent with my remarks to
Bruno re the 1-personal discrimination of self-relation as 'action' or
'behaviour'. Essentially, if we conceive of the plenitude of all
possible universes as existing 'statically', then the recovery of
'dynamic' or temporal existence must be seen as characteristic of
1-personal self-relation: that is, 1-persons are active participants,
not merely 'observers'. What I said to Bruno was that my
justification was simply that such a brute claim seems to be required
if dynamism is to be recovered at all from stasis. I'm less sure
however that such a claim is strictly 'necessary' in the logical

Given this, I suppose it is possible to conceive of a B-Universe in
which this brute claim is not granted. IOW no aspect of the
self-relation of the B-Universe is characteristically dynamic or
1-personal. Such a universe would be static in all aspects - 'inside'
and 'outside' - and consequently it would contain no active
participants and consequently none of the "stuff" characteristic of
such participative behaviour. However, such a static universe could
not, by the same token, be claimed to be "exactly the same" as the
A-Universe, precisely because nothing whatsoever could be said to
'happen' to any object it instantiates. The points I made earlier
about the mutual inaccessibility of A and B-Universes still stand.
Consequently we can't 'interview' B-Universe objects.

In some sense 'interviews' between B-Universe structures could be said
to exist, but not to 'occur'. The content of the statements of
B-Universe objects about their internal states would be similarly
'justified' in terms of static self-relation as those in the
A-Universe, but it wouldn't indeed be 'like anything to be' a
B-Universe object. What is really interesting about this is it
suggests that the notion of consciousness as equating to 'what it's
like to be' something is incoherent. Rather, consciousness seems more
'what it's like to enact' something. Consequently, the 'absolute'
quality of consciousness is just what its like for the One (per
Plotinus) to enact particular kinds of self-relation. And such
quality indeed seems 'absolute' as opposed to 'relative', because it
doesn't seem logically necessary for such enaction to emerge
1-personally from static self-relation. It's just that our own case
demonstrates its 'absolute' contingency in the A-Universe. So zombies
may be possible, but not in the A-Universe, and consequently we
needn't fear ever being fooled by one in any accessible encounter.

What this amounts to is understanding 'consciousness' essentially as
the recovery of dynamism from stasis, or active participation from
instantiation, or time from eternity, or the A-series from the
B-series. It's also treating 'dynamism' as 'experientiaI' rather than
'physical', which of course is moot. But I've never seen any really
satisfactory direct treatment of dynamism with respect to static
formulations of existence except as a brute assertion, or mere
implication, of its being characteristic of 1-personal self-relation
to appropriate structure. Perhaps Bruno could comment whether this
way of looking at things is consistent with comp? For example, it
might seem that 'dovetailing' carries some implication of dynamism, or
at least sequentiality, with it from the outset.

Alternatively, if a static background is not granted, then in such a
view dynamism is already at the heart of self-relation, and with it,
the necessary return of 1-personal participation. However, a
fundamentally 'tensed' view of reality presents its own (particularly
structural) problems, which are kettle of fish for a different


> David Nyman skrev:
> > You have however drawn our attention to something very interesting and
> > important IMO. This concerns the necessary entailment of 'existence'.
> 1. The relation 1+1=2 is always true. It is true in all universes.
> Even if a universe does not contain any humans or any observers. The
> truth of 1+1=2 is independent of all observers.
> 2. If you have a set of rules and an initial condition, then there
> exist a universe with this set of rules and this initial condition.
> Because it is possible to compute a new situation from a situation, and
> from this new situation it is possible to compute another new situation,
> and this can be done for ever. This unlimited set of situations will be
> a universe that exists independent of all humans and all observers.
> Noone needs to make these computations, the results of the computations
> will exist anyhow.
> 3. All mathmatically possible universes exists, and they all exist in
> the same way. Our universe is one of those possible universes. Our
> universe exists independant of any humans or any observers.
> 4. For us humans are the universes that contain observers more
> interesting. But there is no qualitaive difference between universes
> with observers and universes without observers. They all exist in the
> same way. The GoL-universes (every initial condition will span a
> separate universe) exist in the same way as our universe. But because
> we are humans, we are more intrested in universes with observers, and we
> are specially interested in our own universe. But otherwise there is
> noting special with our universe.
> --
> Torgny Tholerus
> >

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Received on Sat Jul 07 2007 - 17:57:09 PDT

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