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

```Mark -- What Shannon referred to as 'entropy' was 'variety'. 'Information'
per se was achieved by way of a reduction or winnowing of this variety of
possibilities, leaving 'information' to survive.```
```
STAN

On Wed, May 30, 2018 at 10:24 PM, Burgin, Mark <mbur...@math.ucla.edu>
wrote:

> Dear Loet,
> Only one remark. There is no Shannon-type information but there is
> Shannon's measure of information, which is called entropy.
>
> Sincerely,
> Mark
>
>
>
> On 5/23/2018 10:44 PM, Loet Leydesdorff wrote:
>
> Dear Mark, Soren, and colleagues,
>
> The easiest distinction is perhaps Descartes' one between* res cogitans*
>  and* res extensa* as two different realities. Our knowledge in each case
> that things could have been different is not out there in the world as
> something seizable such as piece of wood.
>
> Similarly, uncertainty in the case of a distribution is not seizable, but
> it can be expressed in bits of information (as one measure among others).
> The grandiose step of Shannon was, in my opinion, to enable us to
> operationalize Descartes'* cogitans* and make it amenable to the
> measurement as information.
>
> Shannon-type information is dimensionless. It is provided with meaning by
> a system of reference (e.g., an observer or a discourse). Some of us prefer
> to call only thus-meaningful information real information because it is
> embedded. One can also distinguish it from Shannon-type information as
> Bateson-type information. The latter can be debated as physical.
>
> In the ideal case of an elastic collision of "billard balls", the physical
> entropy (S= kB * H) goes to zero. However, if two particles have a
> distribution of momenta of 3:7 before a head-on collision, this
> distribution will change in the ideal case into 7:3. Consequently, the
> probabilistic entropy is .7 log2 (.7/.3) + .3 log2 (.3/.7) =  .86 – .37 =
> .49 bits of information. One thus can prove that this information is not
> physical.
>
> Best,
> Loet
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Loet Leydesdorff
>
> Professor emeritus, University of Amsterdam
> Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
>
> l...@leydesdorff.net ; http://www.leydesdorff.net/
> Associate Faculty, SPRU, <http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/>University of
> Sussex;
>
> Guest Professor Zhejiang Univ. <http://www.zju.edu.cn/english/>,
> Hangzhou; Visiting Professor, ISTIC,
> <http://www.istic.ac.cn/Eng/brief_en.html>Beijing;
>
> Visiting Fellow, Birkbeck <http://www.bbk.ac.uk/>, University of London;
>
>
> ------ Original Message ------
> From: "Burgin, Mark" <mbur...@math.ucla.edu>
> To: "Søren Brier" <sbr....@cbs.dk>; "Krassimir Markov" <mar...@foibg.com>;
> "fis@listas.unizar.es" <fis@listas.unizar.es> <fis@listas.unizar.es>
> Sent: 5/24/2018 4:23:53 AM
> Subject: Re: [Fis] Is information physical? A logical analysis
>
> 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.
>
>    Sincerely,
>    Mark
>
> 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.
>
>
>
>   Best
>
>                           Søren
>
>
>
> *Fra:* Fis <fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es> <fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es> *På
> vegne af *Krassimir Markov
> *Sendt:* 17. maj 2018 11:33
> *Til:* fis@listas.unizar.es; Burgin, Mark <mbur...@math.ucla.edu>
> <mbur...@math.ucla.edu>
> *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
>
> Krassimir
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> *From:* Burgin, Mark <mbur...@math.ucla.edu>
>
> *Sent:* Thursday, May 17, 2018 5:20 AM
>
> *To:* <fis@listas.unizar.es>fis@listas.unizar.es
>
> *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.
>
>    Sincerely,
>    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 elucidations.
>
>
>
> 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.
>
>
>
> Karl
>
>
>
> < <tozziart...@libero.it>tozziart...@libero.it> schrieb am Do., 10. Mai
> 2018 15:24:
>
> Dear Bruno,
> You state:
> "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.
> ...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 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 marc...@ulb.ac.be
> :
>
>
> (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 < <mbur...@math.ucla.edu>
> mbur...@math.ucla.edu> wrote:
>
>
>
> 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 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.
>
>
>
> 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 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,
>
>
>
> Bruno
>
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