Dear Søren,
You response perfectly supports my analysis. Indeed, for you only the Physical World is real. So, information has to by physical if it is real, or it cannot be real if it is not physical. Acceptance of a more advanced model of the World, which includes other realities, as it was demonstrated in my book “Structural Reality,” allows understand information as real but not physical.


On 5/17/2018 3:29 AM, Søren Brier wrote:

Dear Mark

Using ’physical’ this way it just tends to mean ’real’, but that raises the problem of how to define real. Is chance real? I Gödel’s theorem or mathematics and logic in general (the world of form)? Is subjectivity and self-awareness, qualia? I do believe you are a conscious subject with feelings, but I cannot feel it, see it, measure it. Is it physical then?? I only see what you write and your behavior. And are the meaning of your sentences physical? So here we touch phenomenology (the experiential) and hermeneutics (meaning and interpretation) and more generally semiotics (the meaning of signs in cognition and communication). We have problems encompassing these aspects in the natural, the quantitative and the technical sciences that makes up the foundation of most conceptions of information science.



*Fra:*Fis <> *På vegne af *Krassimir Markov
*Sendt:* 17. maj 2018 11:33
*Til:*; Burgin, Mark <>
*Emne:* Re: [Fis] Is information physical? A logical analysis

Dear Mark and FIS Colleagues,

First of all. I support the idea of Mark to write a paper and to publish it in IJ ITA.

It will be nice to continue our common work this way.

At the second place, I want to point that till now the discussion on

*Is information physical?*

was more-less chaotic – we had no thesis and antithesis to discuss and to come to some conclusions.

I think now, the Mark’s letter may be used as the needed thesis.

What about the ant-thesis? Well, I will try to write something below.

For me, physical, structural and mental  are one and the same.

Mental means physical reflections and physical processes in the Infos consciousness. I.e. “physical” include “mental”.

Structure (as I understand this concept) is mental reflection of the relationships “between” and/or “in” real (physical) entities as well as “between” and/or “in” mental (physical) entities.

I.e. “physical” include “mental” include “structural”.

Finally, IF “information is physical, structural and mental” THEN simply the “information is physical”!

Friendly greetings


*From:*Burgin, Mark <>

*Sent:*Thursday, May 17, 2018 5:20 AM

*To:* <>

*Subject:*Re: [Fis] Is information physical? A logical analysis

Dear FISers,
It was an interesting discussion, in which many highly intelligent and creative individuals participated expressing different points of view. Many interesting ideas were suggested. As a conclusion to this discussion, I would like to suggest a logical analysis of the problem based on our intrinsic and often tacit assumptions.

To great extent, our possibility to answer the question “Is information physical? “ depends on our model of the world. Note that here physical means the nature of information and not its substance, or more exactly, the substance of its carrier, which can be physical, chemical biological or quantum. By the way, expression “quantum information” is only the way of expressing that the carrier of information belongs to the quantum level of nature. This is similar to the expressions “mixed numbers” or “decimal numbers”, which are only forms or number representations and not numbers themselves.

If we assume that there is only the physical world, we have, at first, to answer the question “Does information exist? “ All FISers assume that information exists. Otherwise, they would not participate in our discussions. However, some people think differently (cf., for example, Furner, J. (2004) Information studies without information).

Now assuming that information exists, we have only one option, namely, to admit that information is physical because only physical things exist. If we assume that there are two worlds - information is physical, we have three options assuming that information exists:
- information is physical
- information is mental
- information is both physical and mental

Finally, coming to the Existential Triad of the World, which comprises three worlds - the physical world, the mental world and the world of structures, we have seven options assuming that information exists:
- information is physical
- information is mental
- information is structural
- information is both physical and mental
- information is both physical and structural
- information is both structural and mental
- information is physical, structural and mental

The solution suggested by the general theory of information tries to avoid unnecessary multiplication of essences suggesting that information (in a general sense) exists in all three worlds but … in the physical world, it is called *energy*, in the mental world, it is called *mental energy*, and in the world of structures, it is called *information* (in the strict sense). This conclusion well correlates with the suggestion of Mark Johnson that information is both physical and not physical only the general theory of information makes this idea more exact and testable. In addition, being in the world of structures, information in the strict sense is represented in two other worlds by its representations and carriers. Note that any representation of information is its carrier but not each carrier of information is its representation. For instance, an envelope with a letter is a carrier of information in this letter but it is not its representation. Besides, it is possible to call all three faces of information by the name energy - physical energy, mental energy and structural energy.

Finally, as many interesting ideas were suggested in this discussion, may be Krassimir will continue his excellent initiative combining the most interesting contributions into a paper with the title
*Is information physical?*
   and publish it in his esteemed Journal.

   Mark Burgin

On 5/11/2018 3:20 AM, Karl Javorszky wrote:

    Dear Arturo,

    There were some reports in clinical psychology, about 30 years
    ago, that relate to the question whether a machine can pretend to
    be a therapist. That was the time as computers could newly be used
    in an interactive fashion, and the Rogers techniques were a
    current discovery.

    (Rogers developed a dialogue method where one does not address the
    contents of what the patient says, but rather the emotional
    aspects of the message, assumed to be at work in the patient.)

    They then said, that in some cases it was indistinguishable,
    whether a human or a machine provides the answer to a patient's

    Progress since then has surely made possible to create machines
    that are indistinguishable in interaction to humans. Indeed, what
    is called "expert systems ", are widely used in many fields. If
    the interaction is rational,  that is: formally equivalent to a
    logical discussion modi Wittgenstein, the difference in: "who
    arrived at this answer, machinery or a human", becomes irrelevant.

    Artistry, intuition, creativity are presently seen as not possible
    to translate into Wittgenstein sentences. Maybe the inner
    instincts are not yet well understood. But!: there are some who
    are busily undermining the current fundamentals of rational
    thinking. So there is hope that we shall live to experience the
    ultimate disillusionment,  namely that humans are a combinatorial

    Accordingly, may I respectfully express opposing views to what you
    state: that machines and humans are of incompatible builds. There
    are hints that as far as rational capabilities go, the same
    principles apply. There is a rest, you say, which is not of this
    kind. The counter argument says that irrational processes do not
    take place in organisms, therefore what you refer to belongs to
    the main process, maybe like waste belongs to the organism's
    principle. This view draws a picture of a functional biotope, in
    which the waste of one kind of organism is raw material for a
    different kind.


    < <>> schrieb am
    Do., 10. Mai 2018 15:24:

        Dear Bruno,
        You state:
        "IF indexical digital mechanism is correct in the cognitive
        THEN “physical” has to be defined entirely in arithmetical
        term, i.e. “physical” becomes a mathematical notion.
        ...Indexical digital mechanism is the hypothesis that there is
        a level of description of the brain/body such that I would
        survive, or “not feel any change” if my brain/body is replaced
        by a digital machine emulating the brain/body at that level of

        The problem of your account is the following:
        You say "IF" and "indexical digital mechanism is the HYPOTHESIS".
        Therefore, you are talking of an HYPOTHESIS: it is not
        empirically tested and it is not empirically testable.  You
        are starting with a sort of postulate: I, and other people, do
        not agree with it.  The current neuroscience does not state
        that our brain/body is (or can be replaced by) a digital machine.
        In other words, your "IF" stands for something that possibly
        does not exist in our real world.  Here your entire building
        falls down.

        Inviato da Libero Mail per Android

        giovedì, 10 maggio 2018, 02:46PM +02:00 da Bruno Marchal <>:

            (This mail has been sent previously , but without success.
            I resend it, with minor changes). Problems due to
            different accounts. It was my first comment to Mark Burgin
            new thread “Is information physical?”.

            Dear Mark, Dear Colleagues,

            Apology for not answering the mails in the chronological
            orders, as my new computer classifies them in some
            mysterious way!

            This is my first post of the week. I might answer comment,
            if any, at the end of the week.

                On 25 Apr 2018, at 03:47, Burgin, Mark
                < <>>

                Dear Colleagues,

                I would like to suggest the new topic for discussion

                Is information physical?

            That is an important topic indeed, very close to what I am
            working on.

            My result here is that

            *_IF_*indexical digital mechanism is correct in the
            cognitive science,

            *_THEN_*  “physical” has to be defined entirely in
            arithmetical term, i.e. “physical” becomes a mathematical

            The proof is constructive. It shows exactly how to derive
            physics from Arithmetic (the reality, not the theory. I
            use “reality” instead of “model" (logician’s term, because
            physicists use “model" for “theory").

            Indexical digital mechanism is the hypothesis that there
            is a level of description of the brain/body such that I
            would survive, or “not feel any change” if my brain/body
            is replaced by a digital machine emulating the brain/body
            at that level of description.

            Not only information is not physical, but matter, time,
            space, and all physical objects become part of the
            universal machine phenomenology. Physics is reduced to
            arithmetic, or, equivalently, to any Turing-complete
            machinery. Amazingly Arithmetic (even the tiny
            semi-computable part of arithmetic) is Turing complete
            (Turing Universal).

            The basic idea is that:

            1) no universal machine can distinguish if she is executed
            by an arithmetical reality or by a physical reality. And,

            2) all universal machines are executed in arithmetic, and
            they are necessarily undetermined on the set of of all its
            continuations emulated in arithmetic.

            That reduces physics to a statistics on all computations
            relative to my actual state, and see from some first
            person points of view (something I can describe more
            precisely in some future post perhaps).

            Put in that way, the proof is not constructive, as, if we
            are machine, we cannot know which machine we are. But
            Gödel’s incompleteness can be used to recover this
            constructively for a simpler machine than us, like Peano
            arithmetic. This way of proceeding enforces the
            distinction between first and third person views (and six

            I have derived already many feature of quantum mechanics
            from this (including the possibility of quantum computer)
            a long time ago.  I was about sure this would refute
            Mechanism, until I learned about quantum mechanics, which
            verifies all the most startling predictions of Indexical
            Mechanism, unless we add the controversial wave collapse
            reduction principle.

            The curious “many-worlds” becomes the obvious (in
            arithmetic) many computations (up to some equivalence
            quotient). The weird indeterminacy becomes the simpler
            amoeba like duplication. The non-cloning of matter becomes
            obvious: as any piece of matter is the result of the first
            person indeterminacy (the first person view of the amoeba
            undergoing a duplication, …) on infinitely many
            computations. This entails also that neither matter
            appearance nor consciousness are Turing emulable per se,
            as the whole arithmetical reality—which is a highly non
            computable notion as we know since Gödel—plays a key role.
            Note this makes Digital Physics leaning to inconsistency,
            as it implies indexical computationalism which implies the
            negation of Digital Physics (unless my “body” is the
            entire physical universe, which I rather doubt).

                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

                   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 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.

            OK. The reason is that we can hardly imagine how
            immaterial or non physical objects can alter the physical
            realm. It is the usual problem faced by dualist
            ontologies. With Indexical computationalism we recover
            many dualities, but they belong to the phenomenologies.

                   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.

            OK. I think all intellect can do that, not just he human one.

            Now, the reason why people believe in the physical is
            always a form of the “knocking table” argument. They
            knocks on the table and say “you will not tell me that
            this table is unreal”.

            I have got so many people giving me that argument, that I
            have made dreams in which I made that argument, or even
            where I was convinced by that argument … until I wake up.

            When we do metaphysics with the scientific method, this
            “dream argument” illustrates that seeing, measuring, …
            cannot prove anything ontological. A subjective experience
            proves only the phenomenological existence of
            consciousness, and nothing more. It shows that although
            there are plenty of strong evidences for a material
            reality, there are no evidences (yet) for a primitive or
            primary matter (and that is why, I think, Aristotle
            assumes it quasi explicitly, against Plato, and plausibly
            against Pythagorus).

            Mechanism forces a coming back to Plato, where the worlds
            of ideas is the world of programs, or information, or even
            just numbers, since very elementary arithmetic (PA without
            induction, + the predecessor axiom) is already Turing
            complete (it contains what I have named a Universal
            Dovetailer: a program which generates *and* executes all

            So I agree with you: information is not physical. I claim
            that if we assume Mechanism (Indexical computationalism)
            matter itself is also not *primarily* physical: it is all
            in the “head of the universal machine/number” (so to speak).

            And this provides a test for primary matter: it is enough
            to find if there is a discrepancy between the physics that
            we infer from the observation, and the physics that we
            extract from “the head” of the machine. This took me more
            than 30 years of work, but the results obtained up to now
            is that there is no discrepancies. I have compared the
            quantum logic imposed by incompleteness (formally) on the
            semi-computable (partial recursive, sigma_1) propositions,
            with most quantum logics given by physicists, and it fits
            rather well.

            Best regards,


            Fis mailing list

        Fis mailing list <>


    Fis mailing list <>


Fis mailing list <>

Fis mailing list

Reply via email to