Thanks Lou, you are surely right to point out the object-nature of concepts.

>There is no escape from sooner or later realizing that 2 exists only in the mind or in the Mind.

Indeed. Our minds are full of such concepts. It seems that one of the important activities of the mind is to generate 'things' from the processes that impinge upon us. This makes living our lives much simpler (we don't need to set about curating the collection of all couples).

>Mind as eigenform never happens except at the limit where self-reference occurs.

I found it useful to read your paper on that is to be found at eigenforms



On 24/05/18 05:08, Louis H Kauffman wrote:
I start down a road toward attempting to understand information by first understanding number and form.

Is a number a thing?
Is 2 a thing?
Cannot say that this 2, this || “is” two. Rather it partakes in being a couple. 2 is relational. We say that there are 2 signs in the word “is" because a standard couple can be matched to the i and the s.
There is a potential process behind the concept 2.
2 is a concept, but you cannot point to any existent “thing” and say “that is 2”.
You can only say there are 2 of them here, indicating relationship.
So process can also be subordinate to the existence of a something if that something is a concept.
Numbers exist.
Numbers are concepts.
Numbers are related to processes of matching and comparing.
But numbers are not these processes only.
No thing is so real as the number 2.
Numbers are at the base of what we mean by information.
Do you want the actual couples to somehow allow 2 to emerge in the proliferation of many many couples?
Russel said: “2 is the collection of all couples.”
Are you convinced that the collection of all possible couples captures the concept of 2?
I doubt it unless you take collection to be a verb.
There is no escape from sooner or later realizing that 2 exists only in the mind or in the Mind. Mind as eigenform never happens except at the limit where self-reference occurs.
I am the observed link between myself and observing myself (HVF).

On May 17, 2018, at 6:44 AM, Dai Griffiths < <>> wrote:

What is a 'thing'?

Perhaps it is more reasonable to think that  only processes exist, and that for human convenience in living in the world we put conceptual membranes around some parts of those processes and call them 'things'. From this point of view we do not have two aspects (things and predictions about those things), but simply the monitoring of processes, and theorising about what we find. This does not preclude a taxonomy of processes (e.g. mechanisms might be a special kind of process).

Perhaps our "Is information physical" problem could be usefully reformulated as "Is information a thing?".


On 17/05/18 11:47, Jose Javier Blanco Rivero wrote:

Dear FISers,

I recently came across an old interview to W. van Orman Quine and I got an idea -maybe  not very original per se. Quine distinguishes two kind of philosophical problems: ontological (those referred to the existence of things) and predicative (what can we say and know about things). Against Quine materialism I came across the idea that ontological problems are undecidable -I think of Turing's Halting problem. The fact is that we cannot leave the predicative realm. All we have as scientists is scientifical statements (therefore I think of Science as a communicative social system differentiated from its environment by means of a code -I think Loet would agree with me in this point). As a system (I mean not the social system, but the set of statements taken as a unity) they all are incomplete. There are many ways to deal with it, as logicians have shown (in this point I confess I would need to examine carefully B. Marchal's ideas. I think I have many points of agreement with him but also of disagreement -but honestly I currently lack the knowledge to undertake a thorough discussion). Self-reference, I think, is one of the most coherent ways to deal with it. But this means we have to learn to deal with paradoxes. Accordingly, as information theorist we would need to identify the constitutive paradox of information and next unfold that paradox in a set of statements that represent what we know about information. The problem is that although we can have the intuition that information is real, physical as has been said, it cannot be proved. An external reference like "reality ", if we look carefully, acts as regulatory function within the system. I remember that in the "Science of the Society", Luhmann devised the concept of consistency proofs (Konsistenzprüfung).But reality as such, the Ding an sich, is inaccessible. In conclusion, Quine would say that we should not be asking us a question that cannot be answered.



El may 16, 2018 11:24 PM, "Burgin, Mark" < <>> escribió:

       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
       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
       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 tautology.

    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 description".

        The problem of your account is the following:
        You say "IF" and "indexical digital mechanism is the
        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 notion.

            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 others!).

            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
            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.

            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

            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 programs).

            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,

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The University of Bolton
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Bolton, BL3 5AB

Office: M106

SKYPE: daigriffiths

Phones (please don't leave voice mail)
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