Re: Have all possible events occurred?

From: rmiller <>
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 23:32:48 -0500

At 11:07 PM 6/26/2005, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>R. Miller writes:
>>>"Stathis Papaioannou" writes: Of course you are right: there is no way to
>>>distinguish the original from the copy, given that the copying process works
>>>as intended. And if you believe that everything possible exists, then there
>>>will always be at least one version of you who will definitely experience
>>>whatever outcome you are leaving to chance. Probability is just a first
>>>person experience of a universe which is in fact completely deterministic,
>>>because we cannot access the parallel worlds where our copies live, and
>>>because even if we could, we can only experience being one person at a time.
>>RM Comments: (1) I'll have to disagree with Stathis' (apparent) statement
>>that "probability is just a first person experience of a universe."
>>No proper foundation. (2) Additionally, Stathis assumes that we cannot
>>access the parallel worlds where our copies live. Since no one
>>can even define consciousness, or isolate precisely where memory is
>>located (or even what it is), there is no way we can preclude simultaneous
>>experience. The best we can say is, "we simply don't know." And, (3),
>>for the same reasons, we cannot say that we "experience being one person
>>at a time." There are numerous psychological models---neodissociationism
>>being just one---that posit a personality made up of multiple modules,
>>all interacting (somewhat) under the guidance of an executive, Hilgard's
>>"hidden observer." Unless and until we fully understand how
>>consciousness is linked to personality, we probably shouldn't preclude
>>multiple or simultaneous experience.
>1. I'm not saying that definitely there are all these other universes out
>there, but if there are, then like the copying experiments, it will seem
>probabilistic from a first person perspective because you don't know which
>copy you are going to be. It *does* look probabilistic, doesn't it? When
>you toss a coin, you only see one result. This could be explained equally
>well by saying there is only one universe, or multiple universes which do
>not interact at the level of people and coins.

RM: Okay. I see what you mean. Thanks for the clarification.

>2. & 3. I can only experience being one person at a time. At least, it
>seems that way: when I toss a coin, I have never observed both heads and
>tails simultaneously. This tells me there is only one of me, or if there
>are many versions of me, I can't experience what the other versions are
>experiencing. Maybe under very unusual circumstances someone can peer into
>one or more of the parallel universes, but it has never happened to me!

Only if you assume personality is defined (remains cohesive?) as a function
of the input amplitude---which seems to be a limited definition that
doesn't take such things as sensory deprivation (float tanks, ganzfeld
stimulation, sleep) into account. Shut down the outside stimulus and we
dream, but the personality--or the group of modules that represent the
personality cluster--seems to be the same throughout. As for the coin
flip---there's no reason to suggest that a single outcome has any impact on
our sense of "self"--it may be that we react simply because a single
outcome is considered normal and expected. On a larger scale, we
experience events that are often contradictory and we tend to accommodate
as well as any video gamer might---with no loss of self. At worse, it
comes down to the old joke:
Q. "Can you make up your mind?"
A. "Well, yes and no."

Received on Mon Jun 27 2005 - 00:46:01 PDT

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