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

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, University of
Sussex;

Guest Professor Zhejiang Univ. ,
Hangzhou; Visiting Professor, ISTIC,
Beijing;

Visiting Fellow, Birkbeck , University of London;

-- Original Message --
From: "Burgin, Mark"
To: "Søren Brier" ; "Krassimir Markov"
; "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
På vegne af Krassimir Markov

Sendt: 17. maj 2018 11:33
Til:fis@listas.unizar.es; 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

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

Dai,
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).
Lou

> 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?".
> Dai
>
>
> 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
>>
>> Best,
>>
>> JJ
>>
>> 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

### Re: [Fis] Is information physical? A logical analysis - Can it be Improved?

Dear Jerry, Joseph and all FISers,
The title of my contribution is Logical Analysis but not Formal Logical
Analysis. It means that I did not use any formal logic but thoroughly
applied simple mundane logic, which is frequently used in everyday life.

Sincerely,
Mark

On 5/18/2018 8:45 AM, Jerry LR Chandler wrote:

Mark, List:

I find your analysis to be curious from the perspective of scientific
information theories - that is, the nature of scientific beliefs that
are used to do science pragmatically - in physics, engr., chemistry,
biology and medicine. The practice of scientific information uses
well-established symbol systems, abstractions that relate meaning of
experience to symbolic meaning in the mind.  Mental images (indices,
icons, symbols, diagrams, etc,) are systematically manipulated within
the particular framework of the scientific problem at hand, the focus
of the inquiry.

The internal representation of the situation under investigation is
only a private interpretation of the external objects. It is created
by the various sense organs, for example the critical roles of the
senses of touch, smell, hearing, etc are essential to the natural
sciences.

So, who can define the meaning of the (mathematical?) varieties of
“our model of the world”?
How will such a “model” (path?, category?,)  relate the static to the
dynamic that we experience in our daily inquiries?

Let me skip directly to the categorizational logic:
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

Philosophically, how does this logic differ from the Vienna Circle
logic of “Unity of Science” of the 1930’s?

Can you expand the premises to include the processing of informational
flows in the natural sciences?

It seems to me that the meaning to be associated with this
categorization is obscured by the usage of the term, structural.

For examples:
Physical information can be considered structured.
Mathematical equations are often considered as structures.
Mental processes are dependent on anatomical structures.
Is time structured?

Where does this categorization take account of the mathematical
representations of molecular biology, genetics, biological dynamics,
human diseases, all of which depend on the handedness of biochemical
isomers and Penrose twistors?

Within this categorization, how are the processes of communication
represented?

Or, is communication not a component of the purposes for developing
the categorization?

My personal philosophy is that categorizations are always for a goal,
purpose, objective, intent, etc.  Thus, many many philosophers have
proposed categorical theories.

It appears that this proposed categorization of information could be
improved by addressing the symbol systems used in the biological and
other sciences. That is, addressing the forms of abstraction that
relate representation to (in-) forms of physical structures.

Cheers

Jerry

On May 16, 2018, at 9:20 PM, Burgin, Mark > wrote:

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.

### 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  *På vegne af *Krassimir Markov
*Sendt:* 17. maj 2018 11:33
*Til:* fis@listas.unizar.es; 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

Krassimir

*From:*Burgin, Mark

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

*To:*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,