Re: Dualism and the DA

From: Pete Carlton <>
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2005 13:43:42 -0700

(Sorry for the delay; I like to spend several hours writing here but
I have had meetings to attend etc..)

On Jun 22, 2005, at 4:19 AM, Brent Meeker wrote:
>> There are two *physical* issues here.
>> 1) The simplest one is that if you agree with the comp indeterminacy
>> (or similar) you get an explanation of the quantum indeterminacy
>> without the collapse of the wave packet. This is mainly Everett
>> contribution.

I do see how comp / "first-person" indeterminacy can account for, or
can be equivalent to, quantum indeterminacy. In other words, asking
"Why am I the one in Washington instead of Moscow" is like asking
"Why am I the one who sees the cat is still alive", etc. But my
point is that we don't need to postulate "primitive" first-person
phenomena like observer moments to account for the larger 3rd person
fact, which is just that there will exist people who are going to ask
these questions. I'd rather postulate classes of third-person
phenomena (such as those that fall into Dennett's 'intentional
stance') that are able to explain the *apparent* first-person
phenomena such as the absence of white rabbits. That way Leibniz's
principle of sufficient reason remains intact: it isn't the case
that "There's no sufficient reason why I find myself in Moscow";
rather, there *is* a reason why there's one person in Moscow, and one
in Washington, and they're both asking certain questions that contain
the word "I".

>> 2) The less trivial one, perhaps, is that if you agree with the comp
>> indeterminacy you get an a priori explosion of the number of
>> appearances of first person white rabbits
> I don't see that either. The SWE doesn't predict that *everything*
> (which is
> what I presume you to mean by "white rabbits") will happen. If it
> did it would
> be useless.

-or (if I understand correctly) it doesn't predict that everything
will happen to the same extent. But, anyway, I agree that the white
rabbit problem is real, although I see it as a third person problem
rather than an (intrinsically) first person problem.

>> and the only way to solve
>> this, assuming the SWE is correct, must consist in justifying the
>> SWE
>> from the comp indeterminacy bearing

> But the "indeterminancy" of comp arises from equivocation about "I"
> as Pete
> noted. It assumes first that there is an "I" dependent on physical
> structure
> and then sees a problem in determining where the "I" goes when the
> structure is
> duplicated.

Right - I think that the "physical structure" (which I'm happy to
equate with mathematical structure, or a program, etc.) is all there
is - and once you've explained that, you've explained everything.
The "I" that comes out of it is a very useful pattern to us but it
isn't something further, something primitive. The best example I can
think of where the "first person as primitive" reasoning takes us
into weird territory, is the talk of "observer moments". I think
that taking these as primitive leads us into error; in particular the
idea that there's a definite answer to the question "what observer
moment am I now experiencing?".

Best regards
Pete Carlton
Received on Fri Jun 24 2005 - 16:46:22 PDT

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