Re: [-empyre-] free will and determinism

In a way, this sounds like a naive approach to issues of naming and
natural kinds - as well as bringing up problems of as-if universes.
(Thinking of Kripke's work here.)

Not sure it's Wheeler but Hugh Everett III with his many-worlds
interpretation of QM.

- Alan, bleary w/ codeine

On Thu, 20 Nov 2003, Henry Warwick wrote:

> Also:
> paper by Jaron Lanier:
> A quote:
>  Another way I approached the same question was to
> say, if consciousness were missing from the universe,
> how would things be different? A                range
> of answers is possible. The first is that nothing
> would be different, because consciousness wasn't there
> in the first place. This would be Dan Dennett's
> response (at least at that time), since he would get
> rid of ontology entirely. The second answer is that
> the whole universe would disappear because it needed
> consciousness. That idea was characteristic of
> followers of some of John Archibald Wheeler's earlier
> work, who seemed to believe that consciousness plays a
> role in keeping things afloat by taking the role of
> the observer in certain quantum-scale interactions.
> Another answer would be that the consciousness-free
> universe would be similar but not identical, because
> people would get a little duller. That would be the
> approach of certain cognitive scientists, suggesting
> that consciousness plays a specific, but limited
> practical function in the brain.
>  And then there's another answer, which initially
> might sound like Dennett's: that if consciousness were
> not present, the trajectories of all
> particles would remain identical. Every measurement
> you could make in the universe would come out
> identically. However, there would                be no
> "gross", or everyday objects. There would be neither
> apples nor houses, nor brains to perceive them.
> Neither would there be words or thoughts, though the
> electrons and chemical bonds that                would
> otherwise comprise them would remain the just the same
> as before. There would only be the particles that make
> up everyday things, in exactly the same positions they
> would otherwise occupy.                In other words,
> consciousness is an ontology that is overlaid on top
> of these particles. If there were no consciousness the
> universe would be perfectly described as being nothing
> but particles.
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