RE: Observer-Moment Measure from Universe Measure

From: Patrick Leahy <>
Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2005 12:04:32 +0100 (BST)

On Tue, 7 Jun 2005, Hal Finney wrote:

> Jonathan Colvin writes:
>> There's a question begging to be asked, which is (predictably I suppose, for
>> a qualia-denyer such as myself), what makes you think there is such a thing
>> as an "essence of an experience"? I'd suggest there is no such "thing" as an
>> observer-moment. I'm happy with using the concept as a tag of sorts when
>> discussing observer selection issues, but I think reifying it is likely a
>> mistake, and goes considerably beyond Strong AI into a full Cartesian
>> dualism. Is it generally accepted here on this list that a
>> substrate-independent thing called an "observer moment" exists?
> Here's how I attempted to define observer moment a few years ago:
> Observer - A subsystem of the multiverse with qualities sufficiently
> similar to those which are common among human beings that we consider
> it meaningful that we might have been or might be that subsystem.
> These qualities include consciousness, perception of a flow of time,
> and continuity of identity.
> Observer-moment - An instant of perception by an observer. An observer's
> sense of the flow of time allows its experience to be divided into
> units so small that no perceptible change in consciousness is possible
> in those intervals. Each such unit of time for a particular observer
> is an observer-moment.
> So if you don't believe in observer-moments, do you also not believe
> in observers? Or is it the -moment that causes problems?

Obviously, its the -moment. I'm pleased to see that Jonathan and Brent
have the same problem with the concept that I do.

Being an observer is a process. Slicing it into moments is OK
mathematically, where a "moment" corresponds to a calculus dt (and hence
is neither a particular length of time nor an instant). But to regard the
"observer-state" at a particular moment as an isolated entity which is
self-aware makes as much sense as regarding individual horizontal slices
through a brain as being self-aware. It is the causal relation between
successive brain states (incorporating incoming sense data) which
constitutes intelligence, and self-awareness is just an epiphenomenon on
top of intelligence, i.e. I would not agree that anything can be
self-aware but have no intelligence.

Paddy Leahy
Received on Wed Jun 08 2005 - 07:11:08 PDT

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