Re: Request for a glossary of acronyms

From: Jesse Mazer <>
Date: Wed, 04 Feb 2004 04:58:05 -0500

By the way, after writing my message the other day about the question of
what it means for the RSSA and ASSA to be compatible or incompatible, I
thought of another condition that should be met if you want to have both an
absolute probability distribution on observer-moments and a conditional one
from any one observer-moment to another. Suppose I pick an observer-moment B
from the set of all observer-moments according to the following procedure:

1. First, randomly select an observer-moment A from the set of all
observer-moments, using the absolute probability distribution.
2. Then, select a "next" observer-moment B to follow A from the set of all
observer-moments, using the conditional probability distribution from A to
all others.

What will be the probability of getting a particular observer-moment for
your B if you use this procedure? I would say that in order for the RSSA and
ASSA to be compatible, it should always be the *same* probability as that of
getting that particular observer-moment if you just use the absolute
probability distribution alone. If this wasn't true, if the two probability
distributions differed, then I don't see how you could justify using one or
the other in the ASSA--after all, my "current" observer-moment is also just
the "next" moment from my previous observer-moment's point of view, and a
moment from now I will experience a different observer-moment which is the
successor of my current one. I shouldn't get different conclusions if I look
at a given observer-moment from different but equally valid perspectives, or
else there is something fundamentally wrong with the theory.

I think there'd be an analogy for this in statistical mechanics, in a case
where you have a probabilistic rule for deciding the path through phase
space...if the system is at equilibrium, then the probabilities of the
system being in different states should not change over time, so if I find
the probability the system will be in the state B at time t+1 by first
finding the probability of all possible states at time t and then
multiplying by the conditional probability of each one evolving to B at time
t+1, then summing all these products, I should get the same answer as if I
just looked at the probability I would find it in state B at time t. I'm not
sure what the general conditions are that need to be met in order for an
absolute probability distribution and a set of conditional probability
distributions to have this property though. In the case of absolute and
conditional probability distributions on observer-moments, hopefully this
property would just emerge naturally once you found the correct theory of
consciousness and wrote the equations for how the absolute and relative
distributions must relate to one another.

One final weird thought I had a while ago on this type of TOE. What if, in
finding the correct theory of consciousness, there turned out to a sort of
self-similarity between the way individual observer-moments work and the way
the probability distributions on the set of all observer-moments work? In
other words, perhaps the theory of consciousness would describe an
individual observer-moment in terms of some set of sub-components which are
each assigned a different absolute weight (perhaps corresponding to the
amount of 'attention' I am giving to different elements of my current
experience), along with weighted links between these elements (which could
correspond to the percieved relationships between these different elements,
like in a neural net). This kind of self-similarity might justify a sort of
pantheist interpretation of the theory, or an "absolute idealist" one maybe,
in which the multiverse as a whole could be seen as a kind of infinite
observer-moment, the only possible self-consistent one (assuming the
absolute and conditional probability distributions constrain each other in
such a way as to lead to a unique solution, as I suggested earlier). Of
course there's no reason to think a theory of consciousness will necessarily
describe observer-moments in this way, but it doesn't seem completely
implausible that it would, so it's interesting to think about.


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Received on Wed Feb 04 2004 - 05:00:41 PST

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