333. The Conscious Sorites Paradox – 336. The Born Probabilities

333. The Conscious Sorites Paradox

Genau wann wird aus einer Person zwei Personen? Diese Frage stelle sich in der MWI der QM. Aber sie stellt sich auch, wenn man nicht über Interpreationen der QM philosophiert: Wann wird aus einer Person keine Person? Angenommen jemand wird erschossen, die Kugel zerstört Neuron um Neuron, doch wann genau hört die Person auf zu existieren?

Es ist wohl ein gradueller Prozess, wie im antiken Sorites Paradox (=Von einem Sandhaufen wird ein Stein nach dem anderen entfernt. Wann hört der Haufen auf ein solcher zu sein?).

Asking exactly when decoherence takes place, in this continuous process, is like asking when, if you keep removing grains of sand from a pile, it stops being a “heap”.

….If two blobs of amplitude are no longer interacting, it seems reasonable to regard this as consistent with there being two different brains that have two different experiences, however consciousness turns out to work.  Decoherence has a pretty reasonable explanation of why you experience a single world rather than an entangled one, given that you experience anything at all.

However the whole debate over consciousness turns out, it seems that we see pretty much what we should expect to see given decoherent physics.  What’s left is a puzzle, but it’s not a physicist’s responsibility to answer.

…is what I would like to say.

But unfortunately there’s that whole thing with the squared modulus of the complex amplitude giving the apparent “probability” of “finding ourselves in a particular blob”.

334. Decoherence is Pointless; 335. Decoherent Essences

Irgendwas über Dekohärenz.

336. The Born Probabilities

Die bornschen Regeln sind ein Rätsel für Yudkowsky. Der beste Vorschlag ist noch Hanson’s Mangled Worlds.

What’s the probability that Hanson’s suggestion is right?  I’d put it under fifty percent, which I don’t think Hanson would disagree with.  It would be much lower if I knew of a single alternative that seemed equally… reductionist.

But even if Hanson is wrong about what causes the Born probabilities, I would guess that the final answer still comes out equally non-mysterious.  Which would make me feel very silly, if I’d embraced a more mysterious-seeming “answer” up until then.  As a general rule, it is questions that are mysterious, not answers.

When I began reading Hanson’s paper, my initial thought was:  The math isn’t beautiful enough to be true.

By the time I finished processing the paper, I was thinking:  I don’t know if this is the real answer, but the real answer has got to be at least this normal.

This is still my position today.


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