RE: Conditional probability & continuity of consciousness (was:

From: Marchal <>
Date: Thu Sep 6 01:52:17 2001

Charles Goodwin wrote

>> From: Jesse Mazer []
>> Well, I hope you'd agree that which observer-moment I am
>> right now is not a
>> "matter of definition," but a matter of fact. My opinion is
>> that the global
>> measure on all observer-moments is not telling us something
>> like the "number
>> of physical instantiations" of each one, but rather the
>> probability of
>> *being* one particular observer-moment vs. some other one. I would be
>> interested to hear what you think the measure means, though, since my
>> version seems to require first-person facts which are separate from
>> third-person facts (i.e., which observer-moment *I* am).
>I don't see how you can talk about the "probability of being a particular
>observer moment". The probability is 1 at that moment! We
>don't get dropped into observer moments from some metaphysical realm (like
>Fred Hoyle's flashlight-and-pigeonholes analogy in
>"October the 1st is too late") - we ARE those observer moments. It's a bit
>like the probability of me being born as me. The
>probability was 1, because otherwise I wouldn't be me! Similarly for this
>particular observer moment.

So the question is "knowing that I am living (1-person view) this
observer-moment, what can I expect (immediately)?
The answer will be given by a measure on the 1- observer-moment
described in some 3-person view.
My feeling is that Charles and Jesse agree here.
Unlike Jacques Mallah, but like Charles, I cannot give meaning to an
absolute a priori probability on "observer-moment", but I can give,
like Jesse conditional or relative probabilities. This is because
the constraint of theoretical computer science are enough for
isolating natural nearness relations bearing on computational states
and histories.
I agree with Jesse that my actual observer-moment is not a matter
of definition. Nor will I appreciate, if I ask my doctor if there
is a high chance of surviving a delicate operation, that he answers
me that it is a matter of definition.

Received on Thu Sep 06 2001 - 01:52:17 PDT

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