Re: History-less observer moments

From: Alastair Malcolm <>
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 11:40:48 +0100

----- Original Message -----
From: Higgo James <>
> The 'why me?' thought is associated with other thoughts, and I'm not
> about what those other thoughts are. All thoughts exist, so the question
> why this not that is silly: it's just a matter of random sampling of OMs
> use Jacques's terminology.

I have tried to give a readily understandable example of the logical
decomposition of a thought experience. For the case of the thought 'why is
it *me* having this experience' (and similar such thoughts), examples of
these will be different according to whether it is you having it, me having
it, a god having it, or (usually) a super-intelligent machine having it - so
it must be *logically* decomposable into thought elements. And from this
decomposition strategy (and the concept of 'all possible thoughts'), one can
start to perform a rough analysis sufficient to cast doubt on your
fundamental idea (as I tried to do last post).

If it is a matter of 'random sampling of OMs' then one would expect to be
having a partly incoherent thought *now* (such as a WR floating across in
front of the vdu, or in one's memory of the day before), because these are
more numerous than fully coherent thoughts.

> I don't include or exclude an 'ordinary physics universe'. If you look at
> things from the right perspective you will see an 'ordinary physics
> universe' so in that sense it exists. Objectively, it does not.

More problems arise from an 'all possible thoughts only' scenario. Why
*should* lifeless universes and other thought-less entities be excluded? How
do thoughts arise? What constitutes a permitted thought? A chimp's thought?
An ant's thought? Where in the animal chain do thoughts suddenly become
permitted in your scheme? Do permitted thoughts include those that take a
long (subjective) time (like some mental arithmetic)? Thoughts are not tidy
discrete entities, they merge into one another and have complex internal
structures. Also to be explained is the remarkable coincidence of us
happening to have thoughts about a world that already provides us with a
perfectly good alternative explanation (in principle) of those thoughts (ie
science) - most thoughts would not have this. Note also that as for other
proposed skeptical solutions, it is anyway a condition of intelligent life
existing that this type of hypothesis will always be available as a
theoretically possible solution - it is a contrived choice always available
to any thinking entity. (An interesting alternative contrived choice, also
not directly dismissable by empirical evidence, would be that only thoughts
of the kind 'why does this experience exist' (in conjunction with associated
memory-thoughts) exist, and nothing else.)

I could probably think of some more problems/criticisms, but I think I've
written enough.

Received on Sat May 20 2000 - 03:46:50 PDT

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