Re: Everything Physical is based on Consciousness

From: Stephen Paul King <>
Date: Sun, 8 May 2005 11:35:05 -0400

Dear Norman,

    You make a very interesting point (the first point) and I think that we could all agree upon it as it is but I notice that you used two words that put a sizable dent in the COMP idea: "snapshot" and "precisely represented". It seems that we might all agree that we would be hard pressed to find any evidence at all in a single snapshot on an entity to lead us to believe that it somehow has or had some form of 1st person viewpoint, a "subjective" experience.
    Even if we were presented with many snapshots, portraits of "moments frozen in time" like so many insects in amber, we would do no better; but we have to deal with the same criticism that eventually brought Skinnerian behaviorism down: models that only access a 3rd person view and disallow for a "person" making the 3rd person view will, when examined critically, fail to offer any explanation of even an illusion of a 1st person viewpoint! And we have not even dealt with the Representable by "string-of-zeroes-and-ones" .

    Bitstring representability only gives us a means to asks questions like: is it possible to recreate a 3rd person view. Examples that such are possible are easy to find, go to your nearest Blockbuster and rent a DVD... But again, unless we include the fact that we each, as individuals, have some 1st person view that somehow can not be known by others without also converging the 1st person viewpoints of all involved, we are missing the obvious. A "representation of X" is not necessarily 3rd person identical to X even though it might be 1st person indistinguishable!

    About the multiverse being infinite in space-time: You seem to be thinking of space-time as some kind of a priori existing container, like a fish bowl, wherein all universes "exists", using the word "exists" as if it denoted "being there" and not "somewhere else". This is inconsistent with accepted GR and QM in so many ways! GR does not allow us to think off space-time as some passive "fishbowl"! Space-time is something that can be changed - by changing the distributions of momentum-energy - and that the alterable metrics of space-time can change the distributions of momentum-energy - otherwise known as "matter" - stuff that makes up planets, people, amoeba, etc.
    QM, as interpreted by Everrett et al tells us that each eigenstate(?) of a QM system is "separate" from all others, considered as representing entirely separate distributions of matter/momentum-energy, and thus have entirely different and unmixed space-times associated. The word "parallel" as used in MWI should really be "orthogonal" since that is a more accurate description of the relationships that the Many Worlds have with each other.

    Now, what are we to make of these two statements taken together? I don't know yet. ;-)

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Norman Samish
  Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2005 3:14 AM
  Subject: Everything Physical is based on Consciousness

  I think that we all must be "zombies who behave as if they are conscious,"
  in the sense that a snapshot of any of us could, in principle, be precisely
  represented by a string of zeroes and ones.

  If it is true that the multiverse is infinite in space-time, is it not true
  that anything that can exist must exist? If so, then, in infinite
  space-time, there are no possible universes that do not exist.

  Norman Samish
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: "Stathis Papaioannou" <>
  To: <>
  Cc: <>
  Sent: Saturday, May 07, 2005 10:47 PM
  Subject: Re: Everything Physical is Based on Consciousness

  Dear Stephen,

  COMP is basically a variant of the familiar "Problem of Other Minds", which
  is not just philosophical esoterica but something we have to deal with in
  everyday life. How do you know that all your friends and family are really
  conscious in the way you are conscious, and not merely zombies who behave as
  if they are conscious? There isn't any empirical test that can help you
  decide the answer to this question conclusively; in the final analysis, you
  assume that other people have minds as a matter of faith. This troubles me
  as much as it troubles you, but alas, there is nothing we can do about it.

  --Stathis Papaioannou
Received on Sun May 08 2005 - 11:55:45 PDT

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