Mark Burgin has proposed an interesting topic. Here is how I think of it. We need to know the characteristics of an instrument if we are to correctly interpret its output.
In this case our perceptual system is the instrument and information is the output. The science of perception indicates that our perceptual system is capable of creating forms that represent our environment, but it is not capable of direct perception. According to the neuroscience model, when we look at a tree we become conscious of the form "tree" created by our brain that represents the physical (Kant's noumenal) tree. This makes our conscious world a world of forms and we in-form ourselves when we look at (perceive) our environment. Forms include some aspects of what they represent (often the shape) - but exclude other aspects. We can therefore think of forms as abstractions. Because we only become conscious of forms, we get the impression that these forms are non-physical and likewise we surmise that information is also non physical. However, as we can assume that the forms we become conscious of have a material substrate that is not represented in what appears in consciousness, we can model this as if there is a physical component to a form that is not apparent in the conscious form. Just as we can use pebbles to create a form on a beach and then ignore the pebbles, our can brain uses some material component (possibly a field) to create the form we become conscious of. without us becoming conscious of the substrate. To test this model we can see how well it deals with the famous mind/body interaction problem. We can think of a living active brain as being made up of the "meat" and the electrochemical activity and the fields these generate etc. If we abstract away the activity, we are left with the meat, but if we abstract away the meat we are left with the activity. We can call one brain and the other mind, and treat them as if they were different abstractions of the same entity. If we do this the interaction problem disappears and we are no longer tempted to accept that this duality is something that exists outside of consciousness. We create the mind/brain model because it is useful for analysis, but it is not a good representation of the living brain, which is an integral unit. Similarly we create an information/matter duality that is useful for many purposes, but we must recognise that each component of this duality is an abstraction of an integrated substrate. On this approach, we confuse ourselves when we create a duality and then impose it on what it represents. Sincerely, Dick Stoute -- 4 Austin Dr. Prior Park St. James, Barbados BB23004 Tel: 246-421-8855 Cell: 246-243-5938
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