• Mark Nyquist
    28
    Venn diagrams deal with sets in a form that's easy to visualize. I've tried a few models of philosophy using Venn diagrams and I'll run through the one I like best. First start with a large circle that contains all physical matter existing in the present. I don't deal with past or future matter because my model of physics says they don't physically exist. Next, a circle inside (a subset) the large circle to represent my physical brain. And last I place a smallest circle inside the brain circle representing neuron contained non physicals. Neuron contained non physicals is the physical form of information in this model.
    So you have sets of matter, brain and information in concentric circles.
    The part I'd most like to discuss is treating information in this two part form which is the only way I can see to give information a physical existence. And the problem with treating information as a singular, non physical form would be that it's physically non existent, an impossibility.
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    Neuron contained non physicals is the physical form of information in this model.
    So you have sets of matter, brain and information in concentric circles.
    Mark Nyquist

    Um, how did you get from "physical form of information" to information?
  • Pantagruel
    1.6k
    Don't the entropies of thermodynamics and information theory pretty much converge?
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    I wish I knew enough understand your question!

    It seems to me the OP wants to to enclose all that's physical, then pay attention to a particular physical, and then have it be somehow non-physical - I thinking information is non-physical. This seems a double error of putting something where it doesn't belong, and defining something one way and then saying it is something else.
  • Mark Nyquist
    28

    Just by definition specific to this model. I really don't want to take on all definitions of information.
    The problem is non physical information doesn't seem viable.
    Also brains and the ability to process non physicals would have been emergent at some point in history and evolved from simple to complex.
  • Mark Nyquist
    28
    So is information physical, non physical or a physically contained non physical or something else?
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    The problem is non physical information doesn't seem viable.Mark Nyquist
    Hmm - that means I'm speculating. What exactly do you think of information as being? A distinctive electro-chemical activity in the brain? That would be its physical form. But it seems to me that form is peculiarly inaccessible as information. And let's see: information seems to be always about something, in particular not itself. In that sense it would seem it cannot be what it is. Seemingly coming down to the distinction between name and the thing named. And so forth. Sense?

    "Information" then an abstract term. Which takes it out of the Venn diagram.
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    I suspect that information is always in the eye of the beholder. A kind of judgment, and thus never the thing judged.
  • Mark Nyquist
    28
    So information is not even a thing, non existent, and cannot be placed in the Venn diagram. I'm trying to identify a hierarchy of things.
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    Well, you will need some pretty good definitions even to start - and they may change as necessary. First, obviously but maybe not trivially, "information" is a word. And do you have a good working understanding of thing? That's not as easy as it may seem at first.

    Venn diagrams are useful in either-or, this-or-that thinking. A problem is in determining either-or, or this-or-that what. And it would seem that settling that is no small problem
  • Mark Nyquist
    28
    I hear you on the words and definitions problems. To keep things focused, do you think in a biological evolutionary process organisms could gain the ability to contain non physicals that would lead to a survival advantage?
  • unenlightened
    5.6k
    Let me help you get your ducks in a row.

    Suppose 3 or so ducks as material objects - what you call physical. Now get them lined up in a row. The row is not more material over and above the ducks that were already there, but it is a row of perfectly physical ducks. The row is what I call 'an arrangement' of ducks. This is the usual way of looking at it, material and arrangements, stuff and structure, material and information.

    When the cat is on the mat, the cat and the mat are physical objects and 'on' is their relation or arrangement. One cannot manage without arrangements because if one tries, one quickly discovers that 01 has to be the same as 10, and that's information up the spout.
  • Mark Nyquist
    28
    So the three ducks never existed but were a non physical contained by your neurons. As a second example you give the cat and the mat that never existed but were a non physical contained by your neurons. Why you not like this model in Venn form?
  • Mark Nyquist
    28
    You're not another entropy guy, are you?
  • Banno
    12k
    First start with a large circle that contains all physical matter existing in the present... And last I place a smallest circle inside the brain circle representing neuron contained non physicals.Mark Nyquist
    Yeah. I see the contradiction was already pointed out.
  • Mark Nyquist
    28
    Did you consider that because a neuron contained non physical is irreducible it must (as a rule of logic) be considered a physical object? Therefore not a contradiction.
  • Banno
    12k
    ...then your Venn diagrams are incoherent, such that this innermost circle must also lie outside the outermost circle.

    The model doesn't work.
  • Mark Nyquist
    28
    Oh, my model, outside the circle, is physically non existent. So that's not right. The neuron part of a neuron contained non physical is physical. It belongs inside the brain circle.
  • Banno
    12k
    Yeah, nuh. The model is incoherent.
  • Mark Nyquist
    28
    And your reasoned opinion exactly why. You not think of bipartite form ever before Mr. 11.8k?
  • Banno
    12k
    And your reasoned opinion exactly why.Mark Nyquist
    First start with a large circle that contains all physical matter existing in the present... And last I place a smallest circle inside the brain circle representing neuron contained non physicals.Mark Nyquist
    IF you can't see it, then I can't help you. Not my problem.
  • Mark Nyquist
    28
    I just love having people self document.
  • fishfry
    2.2k
    representing neuron contained non physicals.Mark Nyquist

    What are neuron contained non physicals? Is this some sort of dualist position? Neurons are electrically excitable cells made up of well whatever they're made of. Organic molecules, pink goo or whatever. They don't "contain" anything non-physical as far as we know. They appear to have a role in implementing thought, which seems non-physical if anything is, but even that's a totally open question. We don't know if thoughts arise from the activity of neurons, or if they could arise from the activity of other electronic neural networks in computers for example. Nobody knows any of this.

    Stepping back from the particulars of non-physicals in neurons, your Venn diagram idea isn't wrong, but I'm not sure what its use is beyond serving as a visual aid as to what contains what. In math one can draw a big circle containing the real numbers, with a smaller circle inside it labeled the rational numbers, and a circle inside that labeled the integers. It's great for high school students to help them learn their number concepts, but it doesn't offer any insight.

    You can draw a big circle labeled the US, an inside circle label states, a circle inside that labeled cities, and that would help high school students learn their civics. Not that they teach civics anymore. Maybe we can do one for oppressed social classes. "Intersectionality." There's a term from set theory misappropriated to bad purpose.
  • Banno
    12k
    Notice that the non-physicals are within of the physical? The Venn Diagram is broken.
  • fishfry
    2.2k
    Notice that the non-physicals are within of the physical? The Venn Diagram is broken.Banno

    Well the OP is saying that non-physical is "within" the physical, and that's going to be hard to justify. But I think OP really means that somehow the non-physical is implemented by the physical, and that's something a lot of people believe. The mind implemented by the brain kind of thing. My understanding is that the dualists are in full retreat these days.
  • Banno
    12k
    An escape might be to formulate the Venn diagram in terms of information, as is indicated in the concluding paragraph of the OP. Then we would still have the physicalist assumption, but the innermost circle is :representing neuron contained information".

    The notion of a neutron containing information is fraught, so another wording is needed. And even so, it is not only neurones that deal with information, so it could not be restricted to the innermost circle.

    I can't see a way of rescuing this image.
  • fishfry
    2.2k
    I can't see a way of rescuing this image.Banno

    I think the OP is trying to get at the non-physicalness of information. I'm not sure if the particularities of the diagram matter all that much.

    Re information, a bitstring is abstract, non-physical information. The same bitstring stored in a digital computer is a physical implementation of information. Perhaps OP is trying to make a distinction along those lines. But of course brains don't store information digitally (I guess some these days believe they do) so perhaps we should forget about brains for the moment and medicate on the distinction between abstract and physically implemented information.

    @Mark Nyquist am I understanding you correctly?
  • Mark Nyquist
    28
    Please, if you are trying to sort this, go back to my original posts and not the paraphrased misquotes. In particular, I don't model neurons containing information, but redefine information as a neuron contained non physical. Since no one thinks of information in this way I maybe do expect some blowback.
    Some of the main issues here:
    Can stand alone non physicals exist? I would answer no.
    Can neuron contained non physicals exist? I would answer yes.
    Can non physical stand alone information (common usage) exist? I would answer no.
    Can information redefined as a neuron contained non physical exist? I would answer yes and this is in fact how we always experience information. Neurons and contained content.
  • fishfry
    2.2k
    but redefine information as a neuron contained non physical.Mark Nyquist

    I have only read your OP. I asked you how you define a "non physical" and what means "neuron contained non physical?"

    Do you mean a neuron contains a non physical? What does that mean? Neurons contain organic goo, proteins and such. I don't know what it means for a neuron to contain a non physical. And I don't know what a non physical is. That's why I'm asking.

    I'm not blowbacking at all. I'm trying to understand what is meant by the phrase non-physical (I hope you don't mind my adding the hyphen, it adds clarity IMO) and a neuron-contained non-physical.
  • Mark Nyquist
    28
    You are right. That part does need defining and I don't remember doing it before.
    So non-physical (as in having no physical form, mass, location, energy) I would identify as physically non existent.
    Maybe by mental process of default I identified 'neuron contained non physicals' as the way it is in order for non physical (thought) to physically exist. The pairing of neurons and content seems intuitive enough to me but apparently fails in a philosophy forum. I should work on that.
    Also it's a long standing problem in many fields of understanding how neural states match with mental content. So it's not just my problem.
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