Deletion, creation and movement

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Steve3007
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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Steve3007 » May 17th, 2020, 5:11 am

Greta wrote:Heh. If information is not real then there is no difference between an empty integrated circuit and one that is full of data.
This stems from conversations with Terrapin Station. As I noted earlier (to you and him), I think one of TS's big beefs is with people he perceives to be reifying abstracts; regarding abstract concepts as if they were real. Abstract being mental constructs. Real being extra-mental.

I suspect, as is so often the case, some disagreement comes from different word usages, not from fundamentally different ideas. Not all of it, but some of it.

But I presume the answer to your point, above, would something like:

"There is a physical difference between the IC in those two different states, but that doesn't make information real. If my kid's XBox is currently running Grand Theft Auto then it is in a different physical state than when it is not running that particular game. But that doesn't mean that the cars in Grand Theft Auto are real."

I guess it would go something like that.

Belindi wrote:Is "this thing we call information" the same as natura naturans?...
I've never used it to mean that. I guess some people might.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Wossname » May 17th, 2020, 8:06 am

Greta wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 5:36 pm
y Greta » Yesterday, 10:36 pm


And that direct first-person access to my mental experience is what makes Me, Me. And not You.

Whether we're identical or have begun to diverge is irrelevant to that.
That's exactly what Gertie #2 said. In fact, no one can tell you apart.


Maybe Gertie #1 can.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Greta » May 17th, 2020, 6:46 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
May 17th, 2020, 5:11 am
Greta wrote:Heh. If information is not real then there is no difference between an empty integrated circuit and one that is full of data.
This stems from conversations with Terrapin Station. As I noted earlier (to you and him), I think one of TS's big beefs is with people he perceives to be reifying abstracts; regarding abstract concepts as if they were real. Abstract being mental constructs. Real being extra-mental.

I suspect, as is so often the case, some disagreement comes from different word usages, not from fundamentally different ideas. Not all of it, but some of it.

But I presume the answer to your point, above, would something like:

"There is a physical difference between the IC in those two different states, but that doesn't make information real. If my kid's XBox is currently running Grand Theft Auto then it is in a different physical state than when it is not running that particular game. But that doesn't mean that the cars in Grand Theft Auto are real."

I guess it would go something like that.
Not really. As far as I am concerned, information absolutely is real. Fundamentally, you have energy and you have the configuration of that energy. How can the configurations not be real?

Anyone who believes that information is not real should demonstrate its lack of reality by refusing to keep backups of their data. If information is not real, that should make no difference when one's hard drive fails. The idea that information only represents what is real rather than being what is real would seem more an epistemological issue than an ontic one.

It's like claims that consciousness or time isn't real - and there are plenty to claim those too because philosophers tend to love nothing better than announcing that the bleedingly obviously real is actually an illusion. Not sure if you were hoping to have Terrapin and me locking horns again or not. If so, well played :lol:


Belindi wrote:Is "this thing we call information" the same as natura naturans?...
I've never used it to mean that. I guess some people might.[/quote]
It depends on how you describe "nature". If nature includes all of space, then that would be one way of looking at it.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Terrapin Station » May 17th, 2020, 7:19 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
May 17th, 2020, 5:11 am
Greta wrote:Heh. If information is not real then there is no difference between an empty integrated circuit and one that is full of data.
This stems from conversations with Terrapin Station. As I noted earlier (to you and him), I think one of TS's big beefs is with people he perceives to be reifying abstracts; regarding abstract concepts as if they were real. Abstract being mental constructs. Real being extra-mental.

I suspect, as is so often the case, some disagreement comes from different word usages, not from fundamentally different ideas. Not all of it, but some of it.

But I presume the answer to your point, above, would something like:

"There is a physical difference between the IC in those two different states, but that doesn't make information real. If my kid's XBox is currently running Grand Theft Auto then it is in a different physical state than when it is not running that particular game. But that doesn't mean that the cars in Grand Theft Auto are real."

I guess it would go something like that.

Belindi wrote:Is "this thing we call information" the same as natura naturans?...
I've never used it to mean that. I guess some people might.
It's not that I'm necessarily an antirealist on "information." The problem is rather that everyone seems to define it differently, so it's usually not clear what people have in mind, and unfortunately a lot of definitions are some combination of incoherent/gobbledygooky and new-agey.

It's similar to the problems with "emergence" talk.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Greta » May 17th, 2020, 8:46 pm

Are new agers are so wrong about information when referring to the quantum realm or is it just that their claims lack proof? Reality as we know it is composed of quantum particles/wavicles, which act as multidimensional pixels that make up larger scale entities.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Jklint » May 17th, 2020, 10:27 pm

What wouldn't be an abstraction as it relates to everything fundamental in the universe? It's almost impossible to think of reality anywhere, as hosted and created, without default to the most abstract conceptions which lie at its root, reality, as understood, being merely an assembly of it.

When we talk of an ultimate reality we refer to origins whose conditions are not or barely understood. "Ultimate", in that sense, is the cause and that which yields the perceived reality.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Steve3007 » May 18th, 2020, 2:16 am

Greta wrote:Not really. As far as I am concerned, information absolutely is real. Fundamentally, you have energy and you have the configuration of that energy. How can the configurations not be real?
Fair enough. I was just stating my understanding of the sense in which it might be argued that it isn't. A similar argument is made about energy itself. Just as information can be seen as the configuration of energy - i.e.a property of energy - so energy is asserted to be a property of matter. It is then pointed out that, given this particular understanding of what energy is, it cannot coherently be said to exist in the absence of matter.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Belindi » May 18th, 2020, 3:27 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
May 17th, 2020, 7:19 pm
Steve3007 wrote:
May 17th, 2020, 5:11 am


This stems from conversations with Terrapin Station. As I noted earlier (to you and him), I think one of TS's big beefs is with people he perceives to be reifying abstracts; regarding abstract concepts as if they were real. Abstract being mental constructs. Real being extra-mental.

I suspect, as is so often the case, some disagreement comes from different word usages, not from fundamentally different ideas. Not all of it, but some of it.

But I presume the answer to your point, above, would something like:

"There is a physical difference between the IC in those two different states, but that doesn't make information real. If my kid's XBox is currently running Grand Theft Auto then it is in a different physical state than when it is not running that particular game. But that doesn't mean that the cars in Grand Theft Auto are real."

I guess it would go something like that.




I've never used it to mean that. I guess some people might.
It's not that I'm necessarily an antirealist on "information." The problem is rather that everyone seems to define it differently, so it's usually not clear what people have in mind, and unfortunately a lot of definitions are some combination of incoherent/gobbledygooky and new-agey.

It's similar to the problems with "emergence" talk.
If information is taken to be the same as natura naturans then information is real, extramental. This is because natura naturans is the other aspect of natura naturata; one cannot exist without the other. We can think about nature/reality as one or the other, and we can be active agents in nature/reality as either naturans or naturata.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Steve3007 » May 18th, 2020, 5:57 am

Belindi wrote:Is "this thing we call information" the same as natura naturans?
This is from Spinoza right? (I remember you having an interest in Spinoza.)

Personally, I don't really get what it's supposed to mean. "Nature doing what Nature does" or "Nature naturing" seem to me, in themselves, to be pretty free of any meaning that I can discern. But I presume that's because I haven't looked into it deeply enough.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Sculptor1 » May 18th, 2020, 6:09 am

Steve3007 wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 5:57 am
Belindi wrote:Is "this thing we call information" the same as natura naturans?
This is from Spinoza right? (I remember you having an interest in Spinoza.)

Personally, I don't really get what it's supposed to mean. "Nature doing what Nature does" or "Nature naturing" seem to me, in themselves, to be pretty free of any meaning that I can discern. But I presume that's because I haven't looked into it deeply enough.
I agree - I've studied Spinoza and this phrase is still obscure.

Natura naturans we must understand what is in itself and is conceived through itself, or such attributes of substance as express an eternal and infinite essence, that is … God, insofar as he is considered as a free cause.
But by Natura naturata I understand whatever follows from the necessity of God's nature, or from God's attributes, that is, all the modes of God's attributes insofar as they are considered as things which are in God, and can neither be nor be conceived without God

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Steve3007 » May 18th, 2020, 6:16 am

Sculptor1 wrote:Natura naturans we must understand what is in itself and is conceived through itself, or such attributes of substance as express an eternal and infinite essence, that is … God, insofar as he is considered as a free cause.
But by Natura naturata I understand whatever follows from the necessity of God's nature, or from God's attributes, that is, all the modes of God's attributes insofar as they are considered as things which are in God, and can neither be nor be conceived without God
Yes, even if i attempt to update/generalize that by replacing "God" with "Nature" or perhaps "the Order in Nature" or some such thing, I can't see any revolutionary insights there. It looks vaguely as though it's talking about determinism and the notion that whatever happens in the Universe follows necessarily from its initial conditions - "whatever follows from the necessity of God's nature".

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Sculptor1 » May 18th, 2020, 8:17 am

Steve3007 wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 6:16 am
Sculptor1 wrote:Natura naturans we must understand what is in itself and is conceived through itself, or such attributes of substance as express an eternal and infinite essence, that is … God, insofar as he is considered as a free cause.
But by Natura naturata I understand whatever follows from the necessity of God's nature, or from God's attributes, that is, all the modes of God's attributes insofar as they are considered as things which are in God, and can neither be nor be conceived without God
Yes, even if i attempt to update/generalize that by replacing "God" with "Nature" or perhaps "the Order in Nature" or some such thing, I can't see any revolutionary insights there. It looks vaguely as though it's talking about determinism and the notion that whatever happens in the Universe follows necessarily from its initial conditions - "whatever follows from the necessity of God's nature".
i think the significance has been lost in time.
One thing is for sure that Spinoza was a determinist, and god was an expression of cause and effect; no personality, no needs, desires, indifferent. Theists, and pantheists try to claim him as their own but there is no doubt in my mind that he was effectively and publicly an atheist.
Times were such that his works set out to "prove" the existence of god, that he hoped would save his neck, but he offered a version of god but which was met with condemnation, and a harem from his community.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Gertie » May 18th, 2020, 9:43 am

Greta
Not really. As far as I am concerned, information absolutely is real. Fundamentally, you have energy and you have the configuration of that energy. How can the configurations not be real?
I'd say calling configurations of energy ''information'' is just an abstract framing/description of the real stuff (energy) doing real things.

I'm not sure tho, because at some deeper level maybe information is itself a real thing, but barring that, I think information is a way of describing the actual real thing.

A configuration or pattern is a description of actual real stuff doing things in certain ways. Configurations can't exist in their own right, they are always of something real. Likewise information is always about the actual real stuff doing whatever it's doing. I think. There's no such thing as a lump or configuration of information, absent actual stuff. Is there?

Another sense of information is to do with communication, symbols referencing something which is (hopefully) understood. Again I think information in that sense is always about something. I can't tell you some information which isn't about something, just pure information. Because it's not a thing in itself. imo.

So I'd say information is a type of abstract conceptualised framing or description or representation of other stuff, rather than being a thing in itself.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Terrapin Station » May 18th, 2020, 9:45 am

Belindi wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 3:27 am
If information is taken to be the same as natura naturans then information is real, extramental.
Sure, I'd agree with that, but that's yet another in a long list of definitions for "information" that I've never even heard suggested as a definition before. That was one of the problems I noted. People suggest so many different definitions for it--I've literally encountered hundreds of different suggestions; it's far more rare that two people suggest the same definition--that the term is vague when used, because you never know what someone has in mind by it.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Atla » May 18th, 2020, 10:00 am

Gertie wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 9:43 am
So I'd say information is a type of abstract conceptualised framing or description or representation of other stuff, rather than being a thing in itself.
Computers are possible because those who build the hardware tend to treat information as an abstraction. Whereas those who only write software, and don't necessarily know how the hardware works, tend to be oblivious of this, they tend to think that information exists on its own.

A lot of confusion could be avoided by realizing that information (as it's usually understood today) is abstraction, but a lot of people seem to vehemently oppose this view.

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