The question „Is information physical?” relates to the equivalence between
two mental/emotional contents of the brain, and can be compared to “Is A =
B ?” at first sight. In the form the question is posed, it is rendered in a
more empathic fashion in the form “Does A contain a sufficiently large
proportion of properties of B so that one may reasonably say that A is
either a subset of B or is identical with B or does A include B ?”.

That, what “physical” refers to, may be understood to be beyond individual
interpretations. Logical sentences can be constructed about observations of
the world, and agreements can be achieved about what these sentences
denote. Society has created a cultural construct, like the value π, what
the term “physical” means. The concept is detached from the varieties of
individual connotations and emotional associative links, memory embeddings
and personal involvements while having learnt to de-personalise the concept
from its individual connections within the person’s brain.

The “information” part of the equivalence to be investigated can be varied
along the connotations of “information”. One generates sentences like “Is
the background physical?”, “Is the otherwise physical?”, “Is one specific
of the remaining alternatives physical?”, “Is the increase in my knowledge
physical?”, “Is the surprise I experience physical?”, “Is the contrast

Maybe a first step towards a satisfying answer to the question of the
equivalence of information with effects, phenomena, ideas that are within
the domain of Physics, would be to arrive at a cultural understanding of
what the term means.

Presently, in normal conversational context, “information” is equivalent to
“is news for me”. If one receives a message that contains data that are
already known, the information content of that message is Zero. This moment
links the content’s information value to the learning history of
individuals. (If one has never learnt that a cold, low quality, drinking
glass will splitter if poured hot water into, this experience will inform
him on the subject.) The individual variety of the extent/amount/diversity
of information makes that term – as used in colloquial speech – not suited
for usage in a logical discourse.

If we speak in logical style, then the information domain refers to the
collection of alternatives to that what is the case, and the content of the
information is a selection criterion for some of the alternatives. Whether
the background as such or specific elements from among the elements of the
background are physical or not, is a matter for gourmets to chew on. If *v=d/t
*is physical, so be it.

2018-04-25 14:39 GMT+02:00 Jose Javier Blanco Rivero <>

> Dear all,
> Following the ideas of Mark, Lou,   Krassimir and Arturo, I think it is
> worth to insist on a proposal I made in this forum a few months ago. That
> is, the thesis of a general theory of communication media.
> (Before going on I would like to remark that the concepts used here do not
> designate essences but functions, they are thought as answers to
> how-questions and not to what-questions)
> Instead of talking about carriers or substrates of information, we should
> be talking about communication media. Because, as Krassimir remarked,
> information can only become information in the context of a medium
> -material or not.
> As a medium can operate any redundant pattern and/or self organized
> process. Being information the result of or distinctions traced by this
> self driven process in an effort to  fix its own structures according to
> the constraints set by its environment and by its own actual possibilities
> of actualizing determined states of itself. Talking about communication
> would make sense as long as there are information processing, therefore
> redundance, and selection of information. It also makes sense as long as
> way to describe the evolution of the behavior of systems that interact
> somehow becoming interdependent to some degree.  As Arturo points out,
> anthropocentrism -and I would add: a persistent philosophy of
> consciousness- is rather an obstacle. Any selfrerential  and selforganized
> system can draw distinctions, process information and communicate. But we
> should take care to distinguish the very medium that make that system
> possible (which can be the domain of the physical, that is, the domain of
> existence of the observable and mensurable) and the media that function
> more or less regularly to the purpose of communication.
> I remember I also criticized the idea of information transmission.
> Information  is not transmitted. Regular patterns are instrumentalized to
> codify a symbolic system. When this occurs a technical medium of
> communication has been developed.
> I know there would be many flaws other general setting of this proposal,
> but I also think it is a thought worth to be followed  and perfectioned.
> This would not lead astray of information science. On the contrary, it lays
> inside its very spirit. Elemental units such as information are related to
> wider contexts such as communication. It is up to theory to put together
> that unity.
> Best,
> El abr 24, 2018 10:49 PM, "Burgin, Mark" <> escribió:
>> Dear Colleagues,
>> I would like to suggest the new topic for discussion
>>                                       Is information physical?
>> My opinion is presented below:
>>    Why some people erroneously think that information is physical
>>    The main reason to think that information is physical is the strong
>> belief of many people, especially, scientists that there is only physical
>> reality, which is studied by science. At the same time, people encounter
>> something that they call information.
>>    When people receive a letter, they comprehend that it is information
>> because with the letter they receive information. The letter is physical,
>> i.e., a physical object. As a result, people start thinking that
>> information is physical. When people receive an e-mail, they comprehend
>> that it is information because with the e-mail they receive information.
>> The e-mail comes to the computer in the form of electromagnetic waves,
>> which are physical. As a result, people start thinking even more that
>> information is physical.
>>    However, letters, electromagnetic waves and actually all physical
>> objects are only carriers or containers of information.
>>    To understand this better, let us consider a textbook. Is possible to
>> say that this book is knowledge? Any reasonable person will tell that the
>> textbook contains knowledge but is not knowledge itself. In the same way,
>> the textbook contains information but is not information itself. The same
>> is true for letters, e-mails, electromagnetic waves and other physical
>> objects because all of them only contain information but are not
>> information. For instance, as we know, different letters can contain the
>> same information. Even if we make an identical copy of a letter or any
>> other text, then the letter and its copy will be different physical objects
>> (physical things) but they will contain the same information.
>>    Information belongs to a different (non-physical) world of knowledge,
>> data and similar essences. In spite of this, information can act on
>> physical objects (physical bodies) and this action also misleads people who
>> think that information is physical.
>>    One more misleading property of information is that people can
>> measure it. This brings an erroneous assumption that it is possible to
>> measure only physical essences. Naturally, this brings people to the
>> erroneous conclusion that information is physical. However, measuring
>> information is essentially different than measuring physical quantities,
>> i.e., weight. There are no “scales” that measure information. Only human
>> intellect can do this.
>>    It is possible to find more explanations that information is not
>> physical in the general theory of information.
>> Sincerely,
>> Mark Burgin
>> On 4/24/2018 10:46 AM, Pedro C. Marijuan wrote:
>> Dear FIS Colleagues,
>> A very interesting discussion theme has been proposed by Mark Burgin --he
>> will post at his early convenience.
>> Thanks are due to Alberto for his "dataism" piece. Quite probably we will
>> need to revisit that theme, as it is gaining increasing momentum in present
>> "information societies", in science as well as in everyday life...
>> Thanks also to Sung for his interesting viewpoint and references.
>> Best wishes to all,
>> --Pedro
>> -------------------------------------------------
>> Pedro C. Marijuán
>> Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation 
>> Grouppcmarijuan.iacs@aragon.es
>> -------------------------------------------------
>> <>
>>  Libre
>> de virus.
>> <>
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