Deletion, creation and movement

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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Terrapin Station
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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Terrapin Station » May 18th, 2020, 10:16 am

Greta wrote:
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.
New age stuff is typically a combo of fantasizing/wishful thinking and "mysticizing," and it frequently endorses debunked ideas--like astrology, "pyramid power," etc.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Gertie » May 18th, 2020, 11:32 am

Atla wrote:
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.
Yes that's how I see it. But I'm a tech and science ignoramus and the way some people talk about information, as if it has real existence, even its own causal properties, makes me wonder if I'm missing something. But when pinned down, so far I haven't been persuaded I am.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Atla » May 18th, 2020, 11:52 am

Gertie wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 11:32 am
Atla wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 10:00 am

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.
Yes that's how I see it. But I'm a tech and science ignoramus and the way some people talk about information, as if it has real existence, even its own causal properties, makes me wonder if I'm missing something. But when pinned down, so far I haven't been persuaded I am.
I studied computer sciences for a few years, imo Shannon information is a fascinating thing but not what many people make it out to be. It's basically just human-made abstraction, well technically it's not even that, Shannon information by itself is a dimensionless abstract construct that doesn't seem to have relation to anything, until physically implemented.

There are so many information-based ideas, where people treat information and information-processing to explain anything they want, from consciousness to universal simulations we live in.

(Imo the issue of information in general isn't fully solved though of course, it may tie in with much deeper issues like the fine-tuned universe, a possible universal entanglement, entropy or the illusion of entropy.)

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Steve3007 » May 18th, 2020, 12:05 pm

Atla wrote: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.
I write software and I don't think that. Although it is sometimes useful to think and talk as if that were true.

There's a popular Operating System called Windows. I don't think they're real windows.
Gertie wrote:But I'm a tech and science ignoramus and the way some people talk about information, as if it has real existence, even its own causal properties, makes me wonder if I'm missing something. But when pinned down, so far I haven't been persuaded I am.
I think the only thing you're missing is the convenience of brevity and the usefulness of metaphor. Going back to Windows, as an example: it would be cumbersome to have to say: "(they're not real windows made of glass, you know)" after every mention of Windows.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Atla » May 18th, 2020, 12:12 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 12:05 pm
There's a popular Operating System called Windows. I don't think they're real windows.
It's more like that people tend to think of software as something immaterial, made of information, rather than being a part of the hardware.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Steve3007 » May 18th, 2020, 12:18 pm

Atla wrote:It's more like that people tend to think of software as something immaterial, made of information, rather than being a part of the hardware.
Yes, "think of". As I said, I think it is sometimes useful to think and talk as if that were true while knowing that it isn't. It's made more obvious by the paradigm of Object Oriented Programming in which the metaphor of classes of physical objects is very explicit. Look a the class hierarchy of (for example) the Microsoft .NET library and you'll see that the base class from which all other classes are derived is called "object".

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Atla » May 18th, 2020, 12:29 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 12:18 pm
Atla wrote:It's more like that people tend to think of software as something immaterial, made of information, rather than being a part of the hardware.
Yes, "think of". As I said, I think it is sometimes useful to think and talk as if that were true while knowing that it isn't. It's made more obvious by the paradigm of Object Oriented Programming in which the metaphor of classes of physical objects is very explicit. Look a the class hierarchy of (for example) the Microsoft .NET library and you'll see that the base class from which all other classes are derived is called "object".
Why are you ignoring the fact that many people did actually start believing that information exists by itself?

It's even almost mainstream science now with information encoded on black hole horizons.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Steve3007 » May 18th, 2020, 12:48 pm

Atla wrote: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.
...Discussion about that....
Why are you ignoring the fact that many people did actually start believing that information exists by itself? It's even almost mainstream science now with information encoded on black hole horizons.
So you're not just talking about software anymore. I didn't get the memo.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Atla » May 18th, 2020, 12:55 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 12:48 pm
Atla wrote: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.
...Discussion about that....
Why are you ignoring the fact that many people did actually start believing that information exists by itself? It's even almost mainstream science now with information encoded on black hole horizons.
So you're not just talking about software anymore. I didn't get the memo.
Information is never just about software.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Atla » May 18th, 2020, 1:52 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 12:48 pm
Atla wrote: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.
...Discussion about that....
Why are you ignoring the fact that many people did actually start believing that information exists by itself? It's even almost mainstream science now with information encoded on black hole horizons.
So you're not just talking about software anymore. I didn't get the memo.
I do think though that the majority of programmers have this view. At least the majority I've known and saw online seemed to have it, many of them even explicitly stated this.
It's kinda like platonism in mathematics, except information is still a pretty new thing compared to mathematics, so there's a lot more confusion around it.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Steve3007 » May 18th, 2020, 2:52 pm

Atla wrote:I do think though that the majority of programmers have this view. At least the majority I've known and saw online seemed to have it, many of them even explicitly stated this.
Are you sure? You think that the majority of programmers believe that information exists on its own? So are you saying that you think the majority of programmers believe that software exists in the absence of a hardware medium?

I've been a professional software developer since 1997, working for (as far as I can recall) 7 different companies, as well as some self-employed work. I've known a lot of other programmers. I've never known any of them to think that. Of course, they talk about software without always referencing the hardware on which it runs, and frequently using metaphors such as the "Object Oriented" paradigm, for the reasons I gave earlier. But obviously that doesn't mean that they think it exists without that hardware.
It's kinda like platonism in mathematics, except information is still a pretty new thing compared to mathematics, so there's a lot more confusion around it.
And, in your view, that confusion includes thinking that software can exist in the absence of hardware, does it?

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Atla » May 18th, 2020, 3:56 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 2:52 pm
You think that the majority of programmers believe that information exists on its own?
Yes.
So are you saying that you think the majority of programmers believe that software exists in the absence of a hardware medium?
And, in your view, that confusion includes thinking that software can exist in the absence of hardware, does it?
Of course not.

You think I implied that programmers have 16 IQ?

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Steve3007 » May 18th, 2020, 4:12 pm

Atla wrote:Of course not.
So, given that I misunderstood what you meant by "the majority of programmers believe that information exists on its own", are you going to tell me what you did mean by it? If I asked one of them whether they believe that, I suspect they'd say "what do you mean?".

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Greta » May 18th, 2020, 6:03 pm

Gertie wrote:
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?
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?
Let's turn this around.

Energy too can be thought of as just an abstraction, being reality doing things in certain ways. Energy cannot exist in its own right without some being in some kind of form or configuration. Likewise, all studies of energy concern themselves with energy's configuration. There is no such thing as stuff without a configuration. Consider an electron. A point of energy, yet it can hold different information concerning charge and spin. Try to find an electron without these attributes.

Yet, these aspects of reality do not march in lockstep. More energy does not necessarily equal more information and vice versa. An entity may be highly dense but relatively simple, or it may be lightweight but informationally dense.

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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Belindi » May 19th, 2020, 3:36 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
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.
Information, as I understand the term, takes an object and makes no sense without an object of the information.So any 'law of nature' i.e. bit of information is about something extramental i.e. something that exists materially.
Can I take it Steve, who deals professionally in information as abstract systems, would agree information systems apply to material events without which they might be fun but but would mean nothing but entertaining mental exercises?

God, for instance, would mean nothing at all unless he takes an object e.g. God creates, God destroys, God takes revenge, God fathers us , God makes the crops grow, God lives in Heaven, and so forth.

Similarly, and Spinoza-wise, nature would mean nothing at all unless nature takes an object. The objects of nature are natura naturata, and what makes them come into existence, die, deactivate, shed their skins , and so forth is natura naturans.

Similarly, and Greta-wise,
Energy too can be thought of as just an abstraction, being reality doing things in certain ways. Energy cannot exist in its own right without some being in some kind of form or configuration. Likewise, all studies of energy concern themselves with energy's configuration. There is no such thing as stuff without a configuration.

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