RE: Observer-Moment Measure from Universe Measure

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2005 14:06:57 -0000

>-----Original Message-----
>From: "Hal Finney" []
>Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 6:11 PM
>Subject: RE: Observer-Moment Measure from Universe Measure
>Brent Meeker writes:
>> But the problem I see is that we don't know with certainity the
>present moment
>> either. I have thoughts and perceptions in a stream, these have finite
>> durations (on the order of hundreds of milliseconds) that overlap
>one another.
>> When you say we know a present moment you are introspecting a memory of what
>> just happened and I think it likely that you are just confabulating that you
>> not only read the above line but that you were *aware of reading it* at the
>> time.
>So what do you know? What would you use as a starting point in a
>philosophical exploration? Do you assume the world is real? That it
>is inconceivable that you are living in a simulation? Do you assume
>that your memories are correct?
>Or would you go in the other direction and say that it is possible that
>you are not conscious, perhaps that you don't even exist?
>It seems to me that we have to choose something between assuming that all
>our memories are real and the world is exactly as it seems (which is too
>much); or assuming that we might not exist (which is too little). The OM
>seems to me to fit the bill as far as what is the right thing to assume.
>What would you suggest as an alternative?
>Hal Finney

I suggest we take thoughts (not assuming a thinker) as evidence - but not as
fundamental in the sense of incorrigble. For example, there is seeing of words
on my computer screen at this time (awkward in English to avoid saying "I
see.."). But perceptual evidence must be fitted with other evidence
(necessarily from memory) to support a theory of the world, including our
existence in it. In a metaphor, experiences are like the clues in a crossword
puzzle - how we intepret them must fit them together to complete the puzzle.
In fact I think this is where common-sense and science come from - except that
evolution already provided us with some modes of perception and some categories
of thought (c.f. Singer's "How the Mind Works").

Whatever we think we know amounts to a model or theory about "reality". It
seems to me that the object of these models is to explain and predict what we
experience. But if we take our experiences as fundamental what are we going to
do - explain "reality" in terms of them? I can see this as a project similar
to Bruno's, Experiences->Common-sense->Science->Experiences, where each "->"
corresponds to creating a model.

Brent Meeker
Received on Wed Jun 08 2005 - 18:04:21 PDT

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