I have been avoiding this subject since it is too metaphysical for my taste. My interest was in specific problems such as anthropic paradoxes. However, my solution to them does have clear dispositions on these topics. So I will lay it out here.

Fundamental Perspectives

I argued that our rationality is not able to think about things as they are, by themselves. Instead, we would inevitably take a certain perspective or viewpoint when reasoning. Each of us has a natural perspective due to first-person subjective experiences. “I am this particular person, living in this particular time ” is inherently clear to each. It is the primary fact that has none, nor needs any, logical explanation.

Though we cannot think without a perspective, we are capable of putting ourselves into others’ shoes. In another word, we can imagine thinking from different perspectives. All viewpoints are parallel to each other, none is inherently logically superior.

But people often regard a god’s eye view as something else, something that transcends the limit of perspectives. It’s treated as absolute thinking, a fundamental conception that objective reasoning ought to be conducted from. Why we have this intuition would be discussed later. I think anthropic paradoxes are caused by it: trying to conduct the argument from a god’s eye view yet unavoidably also use “I” or “now” from the first-person perspective.

 

Consciousness and Free Will

The above has some metaphysical commitments attached. Consciousness, though a rather mysterious concept, is undeniably a first-person experience. E.g. from my perspective I only know that I am conscious, whether others are conscious like I do or just some mindless NPCs can never be verified.  It is also instantiated by subjective experience so it is irreducible just like perspectives. 

Perspective-based reasoning presupposes free will. For thinking from someone’s perspective to be meaningful at all it is a necessary presumption. It should be noted like consciousness, free will is also a first-person concept. Meaning when thinking from a particular perspective, the only consciousness and free will in reasoning would be that of the self. Someone/something else’s consciousness is only presupposed when reasoning from their perspective (still due to the self).

 

Scientific Objectivity

Since we are not able to reason about things by themselves as they are, scientific objectivity cannot be regarded as faithfulness to the fundamental fact, nor as an objective description of the world from a god’s eye view. Instead, objectivity means something can be inter-perspectively verified.

A statement or theory is objective if it holds true for multiple perspectives. The more unrestrictive it is, the more objective it is. From any given perspective, a statement is tested by the interaction between the self and the environment. We can also imagine testing it from others’ perspectives by observing their interactions with their respective environments.

E.g. “The Moon exists” is quite an objective statement. Because from my perspective, I experience actions upon me that are caused by part of the environment which can be described as the Moon (e.g. I can see it). Also because, from the perspective of many other things such as other people, trees, rocks, our planet Earth, etc, by examining the interactions between itself and the environment, Moon’s existence can also be verified. This is different from the ordinary conception that “The Moon exists” is objective because it describes a basic fact of the world.

 

Some Implications

The first implication is the role of “observer” is inherent in science. Observer does not mean human, it can be any physical thing that we want to take its perspective when conducting an analysis. Theories and statements are tested base on its’ interactions with the environment. The observer,  i.e. the “self” from the given perspective, is not within the scope of scientific studies. So it naturally favors some types of quantum interpretations.

The above also hints at how subjective experience, consciousness, and free will shall be viewed with the frameworks of science. Because subjective experience only pertains to the first person, it cannot be explained by physical reductionism. Consequently, consciousness and free will are also primitives in terms of science.

 

The God’s Eye View

The problem of the god’s eye view is not because it is imaginary. There is nothing logically wrong with imagining something and assuming its perspective. The problem lies in the fact that it can analyze the environment without needing any interaction. From this view, the whole world is describable even though there is no interaction with the self. So imagining the self feels unnecessary altogether, things can be analyzed just as they are. In a sense, it is supernaturally omniscient.

But this view-from-nowhere type of thinking is not without its merits. If we are only interested in things locally on a macroscopic scale, then interactions between objects and the self are so numerous they are effectively constant. It remains true for any choice of perspectives (think about the Moon above). Within this scope, the god’s eye view analysis won’t cause any problem. And it saves the trouble of paying attention to the numerous interactions from a specific perspective. Maybe our natural tendency of treating the god’s eye view as objective reasoning is because of this. In our daily life, it works and it saves energy.

 

Determinism Solipsism and Panpsychism

Whether the world is deterministic has been debated for centuries which ties to the question of whether free will exists. However, rejecting the god’s eye view means science could never confirm determinism in the first place. Scientific theories would always be applied from a given perspective, its scope of explanation never includes the entire world. At the perspective’s center, the observer is not covered. The self shall be understood in terms of subjective experience and consciousness. This view is property dualistic.

Some may think this view is solipsistic. This is not the case. It merely states from any given perspective, the self is primitive and special. It does not assume anything is inherently more important than others nor only the self exists. The perspective of a pencil is just as logically sound as my natural first-person perspective.

And finally, this view is compatible with some version of panpsychism. When reasoning from the viewpoint of someone/something else, they are considered to be logically equivalent to myself in my natural first-person perspective. Effectively assuming it has its own subjectivity and consciousness. However, this does not mean all subjectivity and consciousness feels similar. That could never be confirmed due to their irreducible nature.

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Since I don't see you mention it here, a reasonable solution to the meaninglessness of a view from nowhere yet still finding it useful is to replace it with intersubjectivity: an abstracted view of reality that aggregates over reports of many subjective experiences. For many purposes the intersubjective and objective views are functionality the same, hence you end up with people defending the metaphysics of objectivity even though they don't make sense because they don't have the handle for intersubjectivity they would need not make unusual metaphysical claims.

I think Intersubjectivity is the right direction, the detail is in how to aggregates multiple subjective experiences. I suppose the only way is to find the reports that are common to all subjectives being considered. So objectivity becomes all things that can be inter-perspectively tested. And yes, for almost all purposes the inter-perspective objectivity and view-from-nowhere objectivity function the same. That's why we typically don't pay attention to it. And in cases they do matter we end up in debates and paradoxes. 

I think this gestures at a natural idea, but I don't know how to make it work. The similar thing I've been musing about is the way in which agent's policy/will acausally influences all the facts, including observations from experiments, calculations, inferences. So everything varies with will. Some facts and maps between facts are constant, but others can change with will. This "variation with will" semantics is different for different agents (so any given fact is interpreted differently by different agents), and when one agent tries to figure out how another agent reasons, we can consider variation with wills of both agents.

(I'm using a different term instead of "policy" because there are issues with policies in counterfactuals. If a policy is itself seen as an algorithm, it might work differently depending on a counterfactual, in which case an agent in some counterfactual will fail to follow the policy that determines the counterfactual. But its will is to follow that policy nonetheless. In another way, this follows the distinction between abstract algorithms and their instances in counterfactuals. Or in CDT terms, between the problem statement for a surgery and its outcome.)

A vaguely similar thing in math is how reasoning in a topos works. You specify a site of variation (in this case something that works as a "site of will") and then you have a sheaf topos that interprets at least intuitionistic logic, so most things make sense there and in any other topos, interpreted as varying with will. This suggests that the statements from an internal language that can be interpreted in any topos of variation with will are objective, being constant (not varying with will) or having the same interpretation for different agents (which doesn't make sense from this point of view) is not necessary for objectivity. On the other hand, there are facts about a particular topos that don't work elsewhere, these are "subjective", only naturally make sense for a particular agent. Also constant maps between non-constant elements might be related to the idea of a "dependence" of facts, perhaps causality (a dependence between facts that isn't destroyed by interventions, or doesn't vary with will, even though the facts do), see this MO answer for a construction that might admit this interpretation.

I know of no technical arguments in this space that get to anything that's not already presupposed when trying to fit this framing, and these vaguely related things from math don't clarify anything either (I don't know how to actually model agents this way). There might be something here, but I don't have any specific idea on how to make progress.

It's not clear to me what the concept "free will" is intended to mean here. I have never in my life been able to figure out what that term means. Can you please explain how you are using it?

As ever, you can look up standard definitiions. But I still don't know what dadadarren means.

Perspective-based reasoning presupposes free will. For thinking from someone’s perspective to be meaningful at all it is a necessary presumption. It should be noted like consciousness, free will is also a first-person concept.

What does it mean to say free will is not a third person concept? That everyone's actions are predictable in principle to outside observers? But if first person free will can't manifest as free, undetermined, action ,how does it manifest?

PBR suggests physics reasoning has to be conducted from something's perspective, instead of a "god's eye view" or "view from nowhere". 

Call this thing at the perspective center "self". From this perspective, the world around can be physically described/analyzed based on the interactions with the self. This means to physically analyze something we have to reason from the perspective of something else that interacts with it. It cannot be done from its own perspective. This is the reason why "observers" are not covered by quantum physic btw. 

The self is not within the scope of physics. Instead, the reason behind its actions can be interpreted as conscious choices. This is what I meant by "free will". 

E.g. if we take an outsider's perspective and physically analyze Bill Gate's body, brain included, we can in theory analyze it as a machine to deduce its output. The concept of "free will" or "conscious choice" never applies. If we reason from our natural first-person perspective, then the reason behind our decisions is our choices. 

Human bodies are nothing special. If we reason from the perspective of a Galton board, how it arranged the balls shall be interpreted as conscious choices too.  Even though physically analyzing it, from another perspective, would reveal nothing of that nature. 

To summarize, PBR suggests consciousness and free will are inherent properties to the thing at the perspective center. Or the first-person perspective presupposes them. (first-"person" is a misnomer here, doesn't has to be a human being.)

This is self-contradictory. There can be only one true explanation for any given event. But you are positing two separate co-occurring explanations: one (mysterious, undefined "free will" which somehow relates to what you "choose" to do) from the inside point of view, and one (brain states and their transformation over time) from the outside point of view. Either these are the same thing, meaning "free will" isn't free and is just the way a certain computation feels from the inside, or there are too many causes.

And claiming that this is why "observers aren't covered by quantum physics" puts you near crackpot "I understand QM better than actual physicists!!" woo territory.

Steelmanning your argument, the best interpretation I can come up with is "Conscious minds have free-willed choices in the sense that it is impossible to put a probability distribution on their actions (due to the I stuff), and whenever two conscious minds interact, their separate subjective timelines coalesce into a shared timeline mediated by matter arranged in a way that perfectly mirrors their subjective experience. Mind comes first, matter is the external representation of mind used in shared universes for communication between minds, and the apparent history of the particles making up a mind is a result of its sequence of (totally inexplicable, like the splitting experiment) choices resulting in its being the specific entity that it is, which causes it to manifest in the apparently-physical shared universe in the specific way it does." Is this close to your actual view?

There can be only one true explanation for any given event

This is a quite complex claim depending on what you mean by truth and explanation. I see no reason why to accept it.

I can explain the fact that I slept well on some days by saying that I was too warm. I can also explain it by saying that the walls of my flat radiated too much energy. Both explanations can be true at the same time. 

And claiming that this is why "observers aren't covered by quantum physics" puts you near crackpot "I understand QM better than actual physicists!!" woo territory.

This is an ad hominem that has no good place at LessWrong. You should also remember that part of the sequences are posts about quantum mechanics and many worlds where Eliezer does argue that he thinks his understanding is superior to that of physicists. 

You should also remember that part of the sequences are posts about quantum mechanics and many worlds where Eliezer does argue that he thinks his understanding is superior to that of physicists. 

Arguments from authority are no better than ad hominem arguments. I don't see why I should care what Eliezer thinks, except to the extent he has evidence and good reasoning to back it up. (Having not read the quantum mechanics posts recently I shall have to suspend judgment about that.)

Also I wasn't making an ad hominem argument; a better way to express what I meant is, "My prior for claims about quantum physics made by people who are not themselves quantum physicists is very low."

I can explain the fact that I slept well on some days by saying that I was too warm. I can also explain it by saying that the walls of my flat radiated too much energy. Both explanations can be true at the same time.

Those are the same explanation worded differently. My point is that the total set of causal influences going into any event is unique. And it is redundant and contrary to Occam's Razor to posit some special extra cause beyond what is necessary to explain the facts, as it feels like dadadarren is doing here.

If you want to talk to a community and caring for the norms and assumptions of the community matters a great deal. It tells you a lot about which assumptions it makes sense to make in a community without explicitly defending them. Things are not true because they are written in the sequences but if you make an assumption that disagrees with the sequences it's on you to explain why you think differently. 

My point is that the total set of causal influences going into any event is unique.

That sounds like a naive and unreflective claim for which you do no work of backing it up. If you engage with the literature about causality from Judea Pearl you learn that causality is inherently about counterfactuals. The total set of causal influences, therefore, depends not only on the facts in the world but also on what counterfactual scenarios you have in your model. Models that include looking at different counterfactuals both can be valid.

It seems to me that you have an intuition that making claims about Quantum Physics is something that should only be made by people who not only read the relevant literature but are experts in it while you make big claims about things like causality and assume them to be true because they feel so intuitively but haven't read the relevant literature.

My first instinct is to experience this as a personal attack - more specifically, an attempt to make yourself look smarter at my expense in order to win status points - and get angry. I am going to try to make myself believe that this instinct is wrong, or at least unhelpful for the purpose of increasing my reputation within this community.

My second instinct is to feel despondent, stupid, incapable, unworthy of being here, and to start talking about how I'm just not as smart as you people and never will be and wish I'd never said anything. Getting myself to believe that this instinct is also wrong is more of a challenge.

Even though I've expressed those two facts, thus getting them out of my head and possibly clarifying my thinking a bit by openly recognizing them as traps (at least, according to the unemotional logic other people here use, which I have a hard time trusting but am trying hard to in order to fit in), I nonetheless still have no idea how to respond to this comment in any sensible-sounding way that would rehabilitate my loss of face as a result of your claim that I am naive and unreflective etc.

So, instead of responding to the topic itself, which, you're right, I probably cannot effectively speak about due to lacking whatever background you have on it, I'm going to just show this sequence of thought patterns and try to analyze my own thinking out loud, to give you a sense of what I'm dealing with whenever I try to communicate here, and why it's difficult for me to do so in a useful way.

My credence for that first instinct was roughly 80%, then dropped to maybe 50% as the second instinct rose to replace it, and now it's somewhere around 20%. This isn't Reddit but I still wouldn't put it past rationalists to be condescending on purpose to put a newbie in their place or whatever, because they're humans and my prior for humans being kind is quite low.

My second instinct peaked at a sufficiently high value, at least 70%, that I had to "pull back on the reins" so to speak to stop myself from impulsively going to my profile and deleting my account. After writing them both out and committing myself to share them, I felt like I had been sufficiently epistemically virtuous as to renew my own faith that I'm capable of getting along here, at least to some extent, so P("I'll never fit in on LessWrong") is now something like... I'm not very calibrated, maybe 25%? It's hard to say. All these numbers are pulled out of nowhere but that's how I have to do it for now.

What all this tells me is that as a result of my extreme emotional shifts I massively overestimate the quality of evidence that has emotional implications and I probably also hallucinate "evidence" that isn't there. I knew this already, of course, but emotional-me doesn't know it, and has to be reminded every single time. These mood swings are particularly driven by an intense fear of social rejection and abandonment which evokes a trigger response of trying to devalue and abandon the other person or group first, preemptively, to deflect the shame of being unworthy onto them.

Now, on to trying to actually respond to your comment. I do not think I can actually directly address anything you said as it still has a "this must not parse in order to avoid pain" aura around it making my mind come up completely blank when I reread it, but I can say that my initial response to dadadarren was not rooted in any kind of forethought, but rather in intuition trained over a long time of hearing and reading New Agers invoking quantum physics and consciousness to explain and provide "evidence" for their beliefs.

This evoked a kneejerk response of disgust and distrust, wherein I felt as if something simply must be terribly wrong in his reasoning and he must be trying to manipulate me into believing something false and dangerous to my sanity, because it fit the regex for "woo". I then confabulated an explanation for what that wrong thing must be. My response to him was more like a frantic attempt to get a slimy creature off of me than an actual reasoned reply. Same sort of pattern as my first instincts when replying to you - I just had the sense to notice what was happening this time. (It's this exact paranoid pattern of thinking and communicating that has gotten me banned from so many discord servers and subreddits.)

This is been somewhat exhausting. But <sarcasm> at least now I can virtue signal about how self aware I am. Look at me, critiquing the ways my emotions override my rationality! I'm smart, right?! I'm good enough, right?! Please like me again!!! </sarcasm>

Do you think there is a causal reason why you are MSRayne? Meaning why you are experiencing the world from that particular physical person's perspective? Instead of you being Bill Gates, or an astroid, or a quark? 

I am unable to rationally engage in this conversation, see my response to ChristianKI above. I'm sorry if I insulted you.

That's quite alright, none taken. All I was getting at was a uniquely "physically real" analysis is actually an additional assumption. 

There can be only one true explanation for any given event. But you are positing two separate

I dont see why. Explanations aren't the sort of map feature expected to be in one to one correspondence with something in the territory. Explanations relate to human interests, such as how to stop something, how to reproduce something, whom to blame for something, and so on. You can see this is in court cases, where the physical cause of a murder is a different issue to who is the guilty party...for the purposes of culpability, guns never kill people.

"There can be only one true explanation for any given event" is actually what I am challenging. PBR supposes reasoning and physical descriptions have to be based on a prespecified perspective. And there is no one "true explanation" that transcends all perspectives. 

By PBR's logic, the perspective center being not physically describable is to be expected. That's what I meant by "why quantum physics does not cover the observer" because physics actually shouldn't. I am not claiming I know more than physicists. If you are interested in quantum interpretations proposed by actual physicists, that work well with the idea of PBR, I suggest RQM by Carlo Rovelli

Btw, the steelmaning portion is not my argument. "whenever two conscious minds interact" is ontologically impossible per PBR. The "conscious mind" is inherent to the first-person, or more generally inherent to the thing at the perspective center. There cannot be two conscious minds in any given analysis. For example, reasoning from my first-person perspective and conducting physical analysis would not conclude or infer that you are conscious. You are just a complicated machine in this analysis. Whatever your actions are, they can be physically deduced. Alternatively, we can conduct the analysis from your perspective instead of mine. But then you will be the conscious self, and I will just be the complex, yet physically-reducible machine. 

We can also conduct the analysis from the perspective of some other thing, then neither you nor I would be conscious. However, we shouldn't conduct the analysis with "a view from nowhere" or "god's eye view" that transcends all perspectives that think in terms of the "true nature" or "absolute reality" of things. 

I got hung up here:

Perspective-based reasoning presupposes free will

This doesn't hold in my experience. In many ways quite the contrary!

Firstly, I often reason about bugs in computer programs from the computer's point of view: what does it "see" as input, what code does it execute, what does that mean for its behaviour, and so on. I certainly don't think it has free will in any but the most limited sense.

More widely, to reason from some other person's perspective is to attempt to model their actions, thoughts, and decisions. Where does their "free will" come into this? Nowhere, as far as I can tell. If anything the supposition of free will detracts from any perspective-based reasoning.

I take this as a description of an ingredient of the notion of perspective-based reasoning as it's being defined, not a claim about a prior notion of perspective-based reasoning. So perspective-based reasoning is something with free will built in. If free will is ability to consider the possible worlds where each available decision is taken and to enact one of them, this should work for other agents as well. But for any one possible action of another agent, there is still a whole collection of possible worlds corresponding to the possible actions of the agent in charge of the perspective from which it's being considered.

As far as I can tell, the post does not just define a new notion called "perspective-based reasoning". It appears to be using the term to cover every possible form of reasoning that humans can do based on imagining the world from another perspective:

Though we cannot think without a perspective, we are capable of putting ourselves into others’ shoes. In another word, we can imagine thinking from different perspectives.

If it was intended to define a new term that applies only to a subset of such thought, then it completely missed the mark from my point of view.

Factual claims and hypothetical constructions are hopelessly jumbled together in these posts, so making sense of them requires sorting this out. I think the appropriate role for that provision is as an axiom for the notion, not as an assertion of fact. There may be a further assertion of fact, but it's ignorable, while the axiom has some hope of being useful.

(It doesn't look feasible to mine these posts for something not already familiar, but maybe they sketch their general topic enough to communicate what it is.)

Let me use a crude example. Say a person is facing the choice of taking 10 dollars versus getting a healthy meal. What should he do?

We can analyze it by imagine taking his perspective, consider the outcome of both actions, and choose the one I like better based on some criteria. This process assumes the choice is unrestricted from the on-set. (More on this later)

Alternatively we can just analyze that person physically, monitor what electrical signals he receives from his eyes, how in his brain the neuron networks functions to reductively deduce his action. In this method, there is no alternative action at all. The whole analysis is derivative. And we did not take his perspective. As I said, consciousness and free will are always due to the self.  In this analysis, free will is not presupposed for the experiment subject, (it is not the self). 

When we analyze a computer bug, it is actually the second type of method we are using. It is no different from trying to figure out why an intricate machine doesn't work. That is not taking the program's perspective. If I am taking the computer/program's perspective, then I will not be reductively studying it but rather assume I am the program, with subjective experience attached to it. Similar to "What is it like to be a Bat?", it would be knowing what it is like to be that program. Doing so, the analysis would presuppose "I" (the program) has free will as well. 

That may be a little hard to imagine due to the irreducible nature of subjective experience. I find it is easier to think from the opposite direction. Say we are actually computer simulations, (like in various simulation arguments), then we know what it is like to be a program already. It is also easy to see why from the simulator's viewpoints we have no free will. 

As to why the first-person self has to presuppose free will. Because I have to first assume my thought is based on logic and reason, rather than some predetermined mumble-jumble. Otherwise, there are no reliable beliefs or rational reasoning at all, which would be self-defeating. That is especially important if perspective-based reasoning is fundamental. 

Let me use a crude example. Say a person is facing the choice of taking 10 dollars versus getting a healthy meal. What should he do?

The presupposition of free will in this question is not the act of taking the other person's perspective, it is the framing of the question in terms of what should he do (assuming he is free to do it), not what does he do.

When we analyze a computer bug, it is actually the second type of method we are using.

Please do not tell me how my thought processes proceed when debugging, thank you very kindly. I'll merely tell you that you have a bad case of Typical Mind Fallacy and leave it at that.

>The presupposition of free will in this question is not the act of taking the other person's perspective, it is the framing of the question in terms of what should he do (assuming he is free to do it), not what does he do.

When you make decisions such as which movie to watch, which shirt to buy, etc, do you ever do so by analyzing your brain's structure and function thus deducing what result it would produce? I will take a wild guess and say that's not how you think. You decide by comparing the alternatives based on preference. This reasoning is clearly different from reductively studying the brain, I wouldn't call it just a framing difference. 

As for debugging, I am not telling you how to do it. Debugging is essentially figuring why a Turing machine is not functioning as intended. One can follow its actions step by step to find the error, but that would still be reductively analyzing it rather than imagine oneself being the program. That would involve imagining how it feels to be the program. I don't even think that is possible. So I'm certainly not saying to assume the program's "mind" being the same as your own, as Typical Mind Fallacy says. 

You decide by comparing the alternatives based on preference.

Which is not obviously free. If you have clear, unconflicted preferences all the time then they determine your actions. In fact, that's a common argument against free will.

As to why the first-person self has to presuppose free will. Because I have to first assume my thought is based on logic and reason, rather than some predetermined mumble-jumb

If you are determined by forces outside of you, that does not guarantee you are devoid of.logic and reason..a computer is constructed to be logically correct, for instance.

Equally, having an ability to choose doesn't guarantee that you will choose reason.

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