[extropy-chat] Role of Observer is not Relevant

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Mar 27 14:34:27 UTC 2007

On 3/27/07, Jef Allbright <jef at jefallbright.net > wrote:

> To amplify Russell's remarks somewhat, there's an assumption running
> through this thread that there can be "information" without an
> observer, thus the talk about "information flowing" during a "causal 
> process", but not in the case of a lookup table. There's an essential
> subjective element that's being ignored here.  Just as any pattern of
> bits may be validly said to "be random" or to "contain information", 
> it depends on the observer.  Without specifying the observer, the
> statement is meaningless.

It's quite possible that I, or Stathis, or anyone is not deciphering this
passage correctly, but the picture I'm getting is that to you we must
specify an observer as a integral process of any primary process
that we wish to describe.  If true, this is going to make for a lot
of awkwardness.  (So I hope it isn't what you mean.)

Instead of just describing a process, or an object, in our language L,
must L also include an outside perceiver of said process?  Bishop
Berkeley has returned!

I might be unable to say, "the car is traveling down the road" without
also discoursing on who is observing the car. (Now I'm sorry again
if I'm misinterpreting you, because the following will just be more
overkill.)  Of course this also leads to infinite regress, because how
are we permitted to use a language L that includes a description of
a process P and also includes the observer O of P?  That would
clearly not be adequate, since L ought also to include O', the 
observer of P+O.

Instead, the language of simple realism is vastly preferable, along
with the realist postulate that things may exist without being observed.

Stathis remarks to this:

> Indeed. [what???]   But it gets weird when the observer is himself
> the product of the information, bootstrapping itself into a self-awareness.

Has there been any miscommunication here?  I get the feeling that, to
use my description above, Stathis has reverted to talking about the 
to contain an (impotent) experiencer, who is, shall we say, only reflecting
on certain memories and abstract thoughts and isn't perceiving anything
outside of himself.


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