# Re: [Fis] Is information physical? OR Does the information exist without the carrier?

```Dear Krassimir and Mark,
Let us not forget the intermediate question:
How is information independent of the choice of carrier?
This is the fruitful question in my opinion, and it avoids the problem of
assigning existence to that which is relational.```
```
The same problem exists for numbers and other mathematical entities. Does the
number 2 exist without any couples?
The mathematical answer is to construct a standard couple (e.g. { { }, {{}} }
in set theory or two marks || in formalism) and say that
a collection has cardinality two if it can be placed in 1-1 correspondence with
the standard couple. In this way of speaking we do not have to
assign an existence to two as a noun. The Russelian alternative  — to take two
to be the collection of all couples — is a fascinating intellectual move, but
I prefer to avoid it by not having to speak of the existence of two in such a
way. Two is a concept and it is outside of formal systems and outside of the
physical
except in that we who have that concept are linked with formalism and linked
with the apparent physical.

And let us not forget the other question.
What is "the physical”?
What we take to be physical arises as a relation between our sensing (and
generalized sensing) and our ability to form concepts.
To imagine that the “physical” exists independent of that relation is an extra
assumption that is not necessary for scientific work, however
attractive or repelling it may seem.
Best,
Lou Kauffman
P.S. With this letter, I reach my quota for the week and will remain silent
until next Monday.
If anyone wants a private email conversation, I shall be happy to carry on in
that fashion.

> On Apr 25, 2018, at 2:20 AM, Krassimir Markov <mar...@foibg.com> wrote:
>
> Dear Mark and Colleagues,
>
>
> Very nice “simple question”:  “Is information physical?”
>
> I agree that “letters, electromagnetic waves and actually all physical
> objects are only carriers of information”.
>
> The brain is carrier of information, too.
>
>
> Now, I think, what we need to clear is another “simple question” closely
> interrelated to yours:
>
>
> Does the information exist without the carrier?
>
>
> In other words, can the color, speed, weigh, temperature, time, etc., exist
> without objects which these characteristics belong to and may be measured by
> other objects.
>
> To understand more clearly, let see the case of “time”.
>
> Does the time really exist?
>
> Does the time exist without real regular processes which we may reflect and
> compare?
>
> The time is falling drops of water, the movement of the pendulum, etc.
>
> One may say, the time is information about all these processes.
>
> OK! But, if these processes do not exist, will we have “time”?
>
>
> I think, we have a question in two interrelated explanations:
>
> - Is information physical?
>
> - Does the information exist without the carrier?
>
>
> Friendly greetings
>
> Krassimir
>
>
> From: Burgin, Mark <mailto:mbur...@math.ucla.edu>
> the movement of the pendulum
>
> falling drops of water
>
> Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 4:47 AM
> To: fis@listas.unizar.es <mailto:fis@listas.unizar.es>
> Subject: Re: [Fis] Is information physical?
>
> 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 Group
>> pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es <mailto:pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es>
>> -------------------------------------------------
>>
>>
>>    Libre de virus. www.avast.com
>>
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