Re: death

From: Hal Finney <>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 07:37:17 -0700 (PDT)

Bruno Marchal writes:
> Le 20-juin-05, =E0 18:16, Hal Finney a =E9crit :
> > That's true, from the pure OM perspective "death" doesn't make sense
> > because OMs are timeless. I was trying to phrase things in terms of
> > the observer model in my reply to Stathis. An OM wants to preserve
> > the measure of the observer that it is part of, due to the effects of
> > evolution. Decreases in that measure would be the meaning of death,
> > in the context of the multiverse.
> I will keep reading your posts hoping to make sense of it. Still I was=20=
> about asking you if you were assuming the "multiverse context" or if=20
> you were hoping to extract (like me) the multiverse itself from the=20
> OMs. In which case, the current answer seems still rather hard to=20
> follow.

I was trying to use Stathis' terminology when I wrote about the
probability of dying. Actually I am now trying to use the ASSA and I
don't have a very good idea about what it means to specify a subjective
next moment. I think ultimately it is up to each OM as to what it views
as its predecessor moments, and perhaps which ones it might like to
consider its successor moments.

Among the problems: substantial, short-term mental changes might be
so great that the past OM would not consider the future OM to be the
same person. This sometimes even happens with our biological bodies.
I can easily create thought experiments that bend the connections beyond
the breaking poing. There appears to be no bright line between the
degree to which a past and future OM can be said to be the same person,
even if we could query the OM's in question.

Another problem: increases in measure from a past OM to a future OM.
We can deal with decreases in measure by the traditional method of
expected probability. But increases in measure appear to require
probability > 1. That doesn't make sense, again causing me to question
the whole idea of a subjective probability distribution over possible
next moments.

> Then in another post you just say:
> > It's a bit hard for me to come up with a satisfactory answer to this=20=
> > problem, because I don't start from the assumption of a physical=20
> > universe at all--like Bruno, I'm trying to start from a measure on=20
> > observer-moments and hope that somehow the appearance of a physical=20
> > universe can be recovered from the subjective probabilities=20
> > experienced by observers

Actually I didn't write this, Jesse Mazer did. But I do largely agree
with this approach, and I wrote the reply:

I have a similar perspective. However I think it will turn out that the
simplest mathematical description of an observer-moment will involve a Big
Bang. That is, describe a universe, describe natural laws, and let the
OM evolve. This is the foundation for saying that the universe is real.

> And this answers the question. I am glad of your interest in the=20
> possibility to explain the universe from OMs, but then, as I said I=20
> don't understand how an OM could change its measure. What is clear for=20=
> me is that an OM (or preferably a 1-person, an OM being some piece of=20
> the 1-person) can change its *relative* measure (by decision, choice,=20
> will, etc.) of its possible next OMs.

The OM can change the universe, and this will include changing the measure
of many people's future OMs. Wei Dai, in whose footsteps I largely
travel, finally decided that *any* philosophy for an OM was acceptable,
and its only task was to optimize the multiverse to suit its preferences.
This does not require that we introduce a subjective probability for
measure of next OM, but it can allow OMs to think that way. If the
current OM has an interest in certain OMs, the ones it chooses to call its
"next OMs", and it wants to adjust the relative measure of those OMs to
suit its tastes, that can be accommodated in this very general model.

Hal Finney
Received on Tue Jun 21 2005 - 11:33:42 PDT

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