Re: Dualism and the DA

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Sat, 25 Jun 2005 19:20:58 +0200

Le 24-juin-05, à 22:43, Pete Carlton a écrit :

> (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:

> Bruno 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 agree with you if the "larger 3rd person facts" are taken from
computer science or arithmetic. I am far less sure that we must
postulated "matter" "space" "time" etc.
At the same time I think we must postulate 1 person existence and right
(It is even in the constitution of most democratic country). And I
don't think people take their own personal experience as a postulate,
but more as a given. You never postulate you *feel* a headache.

> I'd rather postulate classes of third-person phenomena (such as those
> that fall into Dennett's 'intentional stance')

Yes but Dennet is very naive on those points. he believes physics as
something having no more problem of interpretation, like if we knew
what matter really is!

> that are able to explain the *apparent* first-person phenomena such
> as the absence of white rabbits. 

Numbers explain better than anything relying on the matter postulate.
Dennett associates the number to matter in a way incompatible with
comp. I like Dennett, if you read him carefully he acknowledge not
having make progress in the mind-body problem (despite deep ideas).

> 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".

Right. But this makes them ignorant of their future in case they (re)do
the experiment, keeping betting on comp. There is a first person
indeterminacy. You get the point. But it is just a step in a much
longer reasoning.

>>> 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. 

Well, for a Tegmarkian there are varieties of 3-person Rabbit problems
and 1-person rabbit problems. With comp there is a 1-person rabbit
problems, and it is just open if some 2-rabbit problem will appear ...

>>> 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.)

You cannot do that. I mean you can, but it is a very strong assumption.
With comp "physical striucture" is eventually identifiable with
covering relation of computational histories ...

> is all there is -

But OK. You are near comp, or Tegmark, Schmidhuber, ...

> and once you've explained that, you've explained everything. 

Schmidhuber error. I humbly think. What really happens is that when you
do identify me with a program, you can use computer science to begin to
formulate the 1-3 person problem.

> The "I" that comes out of it is a very useful pattern to us but it
> isn't something further, something primitive. 

It is not primitive. But the relation between 1-person and 3-person
everybody takes for granted since 2300 years (Aristotle) just does not

> 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;

I agree with it. Except the concept has not yet been make precise
enough. The only primitive I take are the natural numbers and their
"programmable" relation. But that's my working decor, not a solution of
the mind-body problem.

> in particular the idea that there's a definite answer to the question
> "what observer moment am I now experiencing?".

I agree a priori, but that sentences was perhaps said in some context
of a reasoning.

Received on Sat Jun 25 2005 - 13:26:07 PDT

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