Re: Consciousness schmonscioisness

From: James Higgo <>
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2001 18:07:59 -0500


The point you picked up 'self-referential thought' is not relevant to the
discussion we were having. However, it is the most interesting thing in my

I have been thinking about this for a while. The only thoughts that we can
apply the anthropic principle to are thoughts about the anthropic principle.

The only thing we know to exist is a thought about why we exist. So the
number of possible universes is restricted to those in which thoughts about
why we exist can be supported.

The universe need not contain thinkers, far less 'human beings' with brains,
blood and other thoughts. The anthropic principle is universally mis-applied
by everyone who has ever written on he subject because they make the leap
from their thought to a thinker. This leap, as I have long argued, is

You ask: "Is it just amazing luck that I find myself to be one of these
extremely rare complex observer-moments?" - surely you don't mean this. That
is equivaent to the traditional question "Is it amazing luck that the
universe supports my life", to which the traditional mis-application of the
anthropic principle is the ripost.

Obviously, if you were not one of these rare complex observer moments you
would not be asking why you were one. Luck has nothing to do with it. It is
a 100% certainty.

As an aside, these observer moments are not rare, in that there is an
infnite number of them. Jacques Mallah might argue, however, that they have
low measure in the universe of thoughts. Having said that, viz the CD that
maps all natural numbers onto a series of thoughts, you need some external
mapping system to decide what is a thought and what isn't. From some
perspective, from some mapping, all series in the universe can be viewed as
a self-referential thought.

[Note: I use the terms 'thought' and'observer moment' interchangeably:
'observer moment' is the orthodoxy of this list, but I prefer 'thought'
since it does not imply an observer. This is still a bit sloppy but I guess
the terminology wil firm up in due course.]
----- Original Message -----
From: Jesse Mazer <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, February 10, 2001 8:55 AM
Subject: Re: Consciousness schmonscioisness

> "James Higgo (" wrote:
> >Your statement, 'without consciousness you can't incorporate the
> >principle into your fundamental theory', is wrong. You can, it's just
> >you look for conditions that would support this observer-moment (a
> >'self-referential thought'), rather than conditions that support some
> >physical object like a brain.
> How can you rigorously define the notion of a "self-referential thought?"
> Even a very simple computation can be self-referential in some way, and
> physical processes that can be seen as implementing these sorts of simple
> computations are undoubtedly much more common than physical processes that
> are doing the sort of complex information-processing that goes on in my
> brain. Is it just amazing luck that I find myself to be one of these
> extremely rare complex observer-moments?
> >In your last paragraph you seem to concede that s single observer-moment
> >can
> >be 'conscious' and stand-alone. What need is there for this extra word,
> >'conscious'? What does it add to 'observer-moment'?
> I discussed this issue briefly (and the issue of continuity vs. isolated
> observer-moments) on my first post on this list, at
> <>. Basically the idea is
> to differentiate between a position like Chalmers' and one like
> Dennett's--is there a real truth about what is like to be a given
> observer-moment or not? Also, as I mention above, I don't think you can
> make sense of anthropic reasoning unless you have an objective way to
> which patterns/computations can be experienced and which can't.
> Jesse Mazer
> _________________________________________________________________
> Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at
Received on Sat Feb 10 2001 - 15:19:11 PST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:07 PST