Re: Quantum Immortality and Information Flow

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2005 17:33:12 -0800

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Brent Meeker writes:
> [quoting Saibal Mitra]
>>> There exists an observer moment representing you at N seconds, at N + 4
>>> seconds and at all possible other states. They all ''just exist'' in the
>>> plenitude, as Stathis wrote. The OM representing you at N + 4 has the
>>> memory of being the OM at N.
>> This I find confusing. How is there memory associated with an
>> obserever moment? Is it equivocation on "memory"? As an experience,
>> remembering something takes much longer than what I would call "a
>> moment". It may involve a sequence images, words, and emotions. Of
>> course in a materialist model of the world the memories are coded in
>> the physical configuration of your brain, even when not being
>> experienced; but an analysis that takes OM's as fundamental can't
>> refer to that kind of memories.
> It is true that human cognition, memories etc. are not instantaneous.
> There are two ways to keep the OM concept useful despite this. One is to
> extend each "moment" so that it encompasses, for example, the minimum
> period of awareness (probably a substantial fraction of a second), or
> any interval of arbitrary length, such as the waking hours of a day.
> This still allows one to think about questions involving continuity of
> personal identity where multiple copies or near-copies of a given mind
> are running simultaneously, the interval of the OMs under consideration
> being tailored to the particular situation.

But giving OMs duration seems to invite other incoherence. It means that time
cannot be understood as a sequence of timeless OMs. On the other hand it solves
more than just the memory problem; if OMs have duration, then the durations
could overlap and thus define "worlds" and "personal identity" - i.e. provide
the accessiblity relation.

>The other way is to bite the
> bullet and allow instantaneous part-cognitions. A memory is then only
> associated with an OM during the act of remembering, and each
> instantaneous OM covers only an instant of that act, in the same way a
> frame in a film covers only an instant of the action depicted by the
> series of frames.

I have difficultly with an "instant of cognition". A film records an instant of
spatial relations, but how is one to understand a non-extensive, instant of
cognition - certainly not by simple introspection. But it seems that getting
an explanation of the world via introspection is why OMs were appealing in the
first place.

Brent Meeker
Received on Sun Nov 27 2005 - 21:35:44 PST

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