• Gnomon
    2.4k
    I see. This then is about the same with what I hypothetized, "Maybe this 'apparent' or 'initial' chaos contained a kind of order in itself", if you replace "order" with "information".Alkis Piskas
    Yes. From my Enformationism perspective, I interpret Plato's "Chaos" and "Form" as a wellspring of Potential from which Actual things emerge. The hypothetical Vacuum Energy is one example of Actual from Potential. The empty vacuum of space is said to possess Zero Point Energy. Its normal state is neutral, because the positive & negative energies cancel out. Yet physicists imagine the Energy Field as a simmering sauce bubbling with peaks & valleys of energy (quantum foam), where the "negative" values are Potential (unmeasurable), and the "positive" values are Actual (measurable). Likewise, I picture Chaos as a bubbling cauldron of EnFormAction (the power to enform; to cause change). In its neutral state, Chaos is random & disorderly. But in its positive state, it is organized (ordered into knowable forms). That's how I equate "order with information". See my philosophical (thesis) definition of "information" below. :nerd:

    Chaos :
    By “chaos” Plato does not mean the complete absence of order, but a kind of order, perhaps even a mechanical order, opposed to Reason.
    https://iep.utm.edu/platoorg/

    Order within Chaos :
    But looked at over a long period of time, and tracking the branching changes in the planet that follow from it, all the chaos does produce a form of identifiable order. Patterns will appear out of the chaos. And this, in its essence, is chaos theory: finding order in the chaos.
    https://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/student-voices/nietzsches_butterfly_an_introduction_to/

    Information is :
    * Claude Shannon quantified Information not as useful ideas, but as a mathematical ratio between meaningful order (1) and meaningless disorder (0); between knowledge (1) and ignorance (0). So, that meaningful mind-stuff exists in the limbo-land of statistics, producing effects on reality while having no sensory physical properties. We know it exists ideally, only by detecting its effects in the real world.
    * For humans, Information has the semantic quality of aboutness , that we interpret as meaning. In computer science though, Information is treated as meaningless, which makes its mathematical value more certain. It becomes meaningful only when a sentient Self interprets it as such.
    * When spelled with an “I”, Information is a noun, referring to data & things. When spelled with an “E”, Enformation is a verb, referring to energy and processes.

    BothAnd Blog

    QUANTUM FOAM of bubbling energy
    C0494944-Quantum_foam,_conceptual_illustration.jpg
  • Gnomon
    2.4k
    Now, I wonder what kind of "information" the author of this book and the anonymous(!) author of the PDF are talking about ... Because the following question came to my mind when I read this quote was "How can an information feel?". So because this is totally absurd, I had to interpret it as follows: "the way a person feels when his mind processes an information". Then a second question was: "What kind of information is he talking about?"Alkis Piskas
    Apparently, you missed their point. Like Energy, abstract Information does not have "feelings", but it can cause a sentient being to "feel", to experience a sensation. Viewed that way, the author's assertions are not "absurd", but insightful. When energy (e.g light) is organized into meaningful patterns (color; heat; Morse-code; contrast) the human brain interprets that "code" into sensations that we call "feelings" (redness; warmth). Meaningful Patterns are Information. Such encoded (organized) patterns enform (give meaning to) the mind of a rational being.

    As to "what kind of information" : Shannon defined it in terms of Syntax (abstract organization), but Tegmark was referring to Semantics (personal meaning). If you don't speak the language, its Syntax may seem "absurd". But if you know the vocabulary, its Semantics will seem sensible. :smile:
  • Gnomon
    2.4k
    In the present case, I can only use a standard/common/baswic definition of "information": "Facts provided or learned about something or someone." (Alkis Piskas
    My Enformationism thesis expands the meaning of "information" beyond the "standard" bare facts, or the "technical" application of Shannon. For example, the pre-shannon definition of "information" focused on its meaning to a human mind (knowledge). But Shannon abstracted away the Semantic human aspect, in order to convert "information" into empty vessels (1 or 0) that can mean anything to anyone. So, computers "encode", but humans "inform". :smile:


    To Inform : inform implies the imparting of knowledge
  • Alkis Piskas
    1k
    * Claude Shannon quantified Information not as useful ideas, but as a mathematical ratio between meaningful order (1) and meaningless disorder (0); between knowledge (1) and ignorance (0).Gnomon
    Wow! This is the most "exotic" definition of "information" I could ever expect! And for a word people use everyday! It looks like it is created in a way to fit this also "exotic" theory ...
    No, this finds me in total disagreement. If one cannot formulate an argument, position, theory, hypothesis, etc., using standard and commonly accepted definitions of terms, he just has no argument, position, theory, hypothesis, etc. at all.

    Besides that, I will say once again that all this looks quite interesting, but it is totally outside my sphere of knowledge and interests.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1k
    abstract Information does not have "feelings", but it can cause a sentient being to "feel",Gnomon
    I thought of that too, but it was not so evident. So, it has to do with the use of language then ...
  • Alkis Piskas
    1k
    My Enformationism thesis expands the meaning of "information" beyond the "standard" bare facts, or the "technical" application of Shannon.Gnomon
    Yes, I think this is evident. I can accept it. No problem. :smile:
  • Gnomon
    2.4k
    Cartesian Dualism is a conceptual illusionAlkis Piskas
    I wouldn't worry about that assertion in the context of physical laws. The "Argument From Illusion" is a philosophical quibble, that physicists are not concerned with. It's related to Kant's notion of "ding an sich", which we know only as mental concepts : illusions. :smile:

    The “Argument from Illusion” and the Cartesian Philosophy of Ideas :
    https://www.cairn-int.info/article-E_RMM_042_0217--the-argument-from-illusion-and-the-carte.htm
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    The laws of physics is the way the old determinists understood the physical universe.

    People like Schrodinger said science only describes ranges of behaviors of physical particles or events.
  • Gnomon
    2.4k
    I'm working in the IT field since the early 80s and I've never heard connecting Cybernetics or IT or even AI to matter and energy. as far as their essence and nature are concerned. So I can safely say that this is a big misconception . . .Alkis Piskas
    Cybernetics is about purposeful control and self-regulation. But it works by directing Causality (energy) into specific directions (channels) to produce useful behaviors. IT typically follows Shannon's technical definition of "information", which omits Meaning & Purpose from its equations, in favor of abstract numerical values. The result is impersonal robotic technology. But AI is now trying to put pupose & personality back into cybernetic systems. :smile:

    Cybernetics is a wide-ranging field concerned with regulatory and purposive systems. The core concept of cybernetics is circular causality or feedback
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybernetics

    Google_robot1.jpg
  • Gnomon
    2.4k
    Wow! This is the most"exotic" definition of "information" I could ever expect! And for a word people use everyday! It looks like it is created in a way to fit this also "exotic" theory ...
    No, this finds me in total disagreement. If one cannot formulate an argument, position, theory, hypothesis, etc., using standard and commonly accepted definitions of terms, he just has no argument, position, theory, hypothesis, etc. at all.
    Alkis Piskas
    The Enformationism thesis is indeed "exotic" and "non-standard". But that's only because it is on the cutting-edge of Information science & philosophy. The thesis is presented as a new Paradigm to update the old scientific worldviews of Materialism or Physicalism. But, I'm not just making this sh*t up. For example, the Santa Fe Institute does interdisciplinary*1 theoretical research on Complex Adaptive Systems, but "outside traditional boundaries". That candid admission provokes accusations of "pseudoscience", in part because they do not confine themselves to "commonly accepted definitions", and partly because they cross the no-no line from Physics & Chemistry into problems of Life & Mind. :nerd:


    Santa Fe Institute :
    https://www.santafe.edu/about/overview

    *1. From Matter to Life : Information and Causality
    This compendium, co-authored by 35 Santa Fe scientists, among others, and co-edited by Physicist Paul Davies, is a collaboration of scientists from around the world with at least one thing in common : a primary role for Information in their research on Physics, Microbiology, Mathematics, Computation, Cosmology, Evolution, Information Theory, Neuroscience, Game Theory, etc. . . . So, you can imagine that they come-up with lots of "exotic" ideas, and innovative definitions to describe the alien territory they are exploring.
    "If information makes a difference in the physical world, which it surely does, then should we not attribute to it causal powers". ___the Editors
    https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/from-matter-to-life/4DA89C33D0FF29E749E6B415739F8E5A
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    The Enformationism thesis is indeed "exotic" and "non-standard". But that's only because it is on the cutting-edge of Information science & philosophy.Gnomon
    A. In science, what specifiable problem does "Enformationism" solve falsifiably?

    B. In philosophy, what non-trivial, coherent question does "Enformationism" raise without begging any (or translate into a more probative question or questions)?
  • Janus
    12.4k
    I have read that cats, (on average) due to the ratio of their surface area to their mass, reach terminal velocity after falling from about the height of a seven storey building. If that is true, and they can survive a fall from that height then they can survive a fall from any height (assuming there is enough oxygen available to them) and may even be more likely to survive falls from greater heights due to having more time to prepare for landing.
  • Wayfarer
    16.1k
    Yes, I heard that. They also adopt a pose - legs spread out to kind of parachute them a little.

    Actually it reminds me, there’s a Curiosity Stream feature on The Big Cats, one episode of which concerned the Himalayan Snow Leopard. It was amazing footage to begin with, considering how scarce those creatures are. But one sequence has a snow leopard charging an ibex on the edge of a mountain and then both tumbling about 70 metres through the air before landing - admittedly on a slight slope with snow covering, which cushioned the fall. The cat then finishes the ibex with the killer bite to the throat and stashes the cadaver in a crevice and saunters off. And the amazing thing is, they play the footage of the fall in slo-mo, and the cat actually changes its grip on the ibex while falling. Actually the most sensational wildlife footage I think I’ve ever seen, Attenborough included.

    Amazing creatures, cats.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1k
    The "Argument From Illusion" is a philosophical quibble, that physicists are not concerned with. It's related to Kant's notion of "ding an sich", which we know only as mental concepts : illusions. :smile:Gnomon
    Nicely put!
    Yet, when someone "hears" such things, he can't take them seriously, can he? Esp. when he meets more stuff like this in the thesis in question, as I mentioned. It shows ignorance or big mistakes and this reflects on the source and/or his thesis.
    Still, I could ignore all this and would not reject a thesis or theory, if I had found important elements in it that make it interesting or plausible. But I haven't. Well, this concerns only me. :smile:
  • Alkis Piskas
    1k

    Yes, I know this description in Wiki. And I agree with it.
    But please, don't bring up examples/images from sci-fi movies, like the one from "Ex Machina", which, movies, are quite entertaining, but far from the actual nature and possibilities of AI. These sci-fi movies and novels are responsible for all the crap that exists in people's mind regarding AI. (I have discussed this issue in length in some other medium,)
  • Alkis Piskas
    1k
    The Enformationism thesis is indeed "exotic" and "non-standard". But that's only because it is on the cutting-edge of Information science & philosophy.Gnomon
    I can see this, and it's fine with me, "exotic" or not. But I was talkng about common terms, like "information".

    Well, once more, although I find all this quite interesting, and as much as you try to sell me the idea :grin:, it's out of my range of knowledge and interests.
  • Banno
    17.4k



    Astonishing.
  • Wayfarer
    16.1k
    Yeah that’s it, well done to find it. Snow Leopard: ‘What “laws of physics? :brow:
  • Banno
    17.4k
    I had it saved. It's extraordinary. The cat starts with the beast b ythe rump, but by the bottom of the fall has it by the neck. Physics is arbitrary for cats.
  • Gnomon
    2.4k
    Yet, when someone "hears" such things, he can't take them seriously, can he?Alkis Piskas
    I assume that the "such things" you refer to is Kant's notion that we humans do not (cannot) know Reality directly. Instead, what we know is our own subjective mental constructs (Ideality) representing Reality. Such assertions sound counter-intuitive, because the observer is not aware of how his brain processes incoming sensations into symbolic imagery. So, he assumes (takes for granted) that what he sees is objectively Real.

    But Quantum Theory forced scientists to address the active role of the observer for interpreting the signals we get from the environment. Donald Hoffman looked at the same question from the perspective of a Cognitive scientist. He came to the same conclusion as Kant's "occult ontology". He says that we perceive Reality in the same way we "interface" with a computer, via symbols (icons). Do you find that hard to believe? Can you take human limitations seriously? :smile:

    PS___This is the same old Subjective versus Objective (Ideality vs Reality) question, that philosophers & scientists have been grappling with for millennia.


    The Case Against Reality : Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes :
    Can we trust our senses to tell us the truth? Challenging leading scientific theories that claim that our senses report back objective reality, cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman argues that while we should take our perceptions seriously, we should not take them literally.
    https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Case_Against_Reality_Why_Evolution_H/JgJ1DwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0

    Occult Ontology :
    Now, cognitive scientist Hoffman has produced an updated version of Kant’s controversial Occult Ontology. He uses the modern metaphor of computers that we “interface” (interact) with, as-if the symbolic Icons on the display screen are the actual things we want to act upon. . . . . For our practical needs, such short-cuts are sufficient to get the job done. It’s not necessary for us to be aware of all the intricate details of internal computer processes. From his studies, he has concluded that our sensory perceptions have “almost surely evolved to hide reality. They just report fitness”.
    http://bothandblog6.enformationism.info/page21.html

    Illusions or Approximations :
    Envisioning two levels of reality, the apparent and the ultimate. IMHO, Kant didn’t mean that the appearances of our senses are deceptive illusions, but merely that they are useful approximations of objects that are otherwise incomprehensible to our senses, which evolved for human scale objects and energies.
    http://bothandblog6.enformationism.info/page21.html
  • Gnomon
    2.4k
    Yes, I know this description in Wiki. And I agree with it.
    But please, don't bring up examples/images from sci-fi movies, like the one from "Ex Machina", which, movies, are quite entertaining, but far from the actual nature and possibilities of AI.
    Alkis Piskas
    Of course, Science Fiction explores the philosophical implications of scientific innovations, but without the self-imposed restrictions of the Scientific Method. So, you don't think that pragmatic AI researchers should (or could) try to instill "crap" like Purpose & Meaning into their artificial humans?

    Currently, robots get their Purpose from their programmers & controllers. But, they won't really be intelligent until they can operate independently. Don't you suspect that some AI programmers (privately) envision a day when sci-fi robots interact with humans as civil persons and moral agents, instead of as slaves & expendable gadgets? Do you think, as employees of the Military-Industrial Complex, AI designers shouldn't explore those impractical possibilities? :nerd:

    Artificial Purpose :
    In summary, the goal of AI is to provide software that can reason on input and explain on output. AI will provide human-like interactions with software and offer decision support for specific tasks, but it's not a replacement for humans – and won't be anytime soon.
    https://www.sas.com/en_us/insights/analytics/what-is-artificial-intelligence.html

    Artificial general intelligence is the ability of an intelligent agent to understand or learn any intellectual task that a human being can. It is a primary goal of some artificial intelligence research and a common topic in science fiction and futures studies. ___Wikipedia
  • Gnomon
    2.4k
    Well, once more, although I find all this quite interesting, and as much as you try to sell me the idea :grin:, it's out of my range of knowledge and interests.Alkis Piskas
    That's OK. Apparently, you prefer the self-imposed restrictions of pragmatic Science to the free-exploration of idealistic Philosophy. I don't have to "sell" the idea of Ubiquitous Information to scientists, because some are already there (e.g. Santa Fe Institute). On this forum though, I find it's a "hard sell" to philosophers under the influence of doctrinaire Scientism. :joke:
  • Alkis Piskas
    1k
    Iassume that the "such things" you refer to is Kant's notion that we humans do not (cannot) know Reality directly.Gnomon
    No, not at all. My "such things" refer to statements like "Cartesian Dualism is a conceptual illusion", "Cybernetic systems came along, which described systems in terms of matter-energy interactions, ...", etc. I thought I was clear on this.
    As for "Kant's notion that we humans do not (cannot) know Reality directly", I agree, but it has nothing to do with all that I was talking about.
    BTW, I don't think that Kant or any other important philosopher would ever come up with such a blooper as "Cartesian Dualism is a conceptual illusion"!

    The observer is not aware of how his brain processes incoming sensations into symbolic imagery.Gnomon
    He doesn't have to know how his brain processes incoming sensations to know and undestand symbolic imagery. Fortunately so! :smile: A person doesn't have to know how emotions work, to feel happy, sad, angry, etc. and to be able to identify and undestand these states.

    So, he assumes (takes for granted) that what he sees is objectively Real.Gnomon
    Of course, what else can he do? He must however, realize and acknowldge that his reality is subjective, which BTW is the only reality that exists. (Note that by "reality" I don't mean the physical universe or the external world, as a lot of people do.)
  • Alkis Piskas
    1k
    Science Fiction explores the philosophical implications of scientific innovationsGnomon
    Well, maybe some. But they are mainly created --as already said- for entertainment. They are commercial products. I don't think that the average person, or even most people, who read/watch sci-fi care much about philosophical implications. They can only excite their imagination. As I said, I am a programmer and have been amd still am involved a lot in AI, so I know exctly what it is about and what are its possibilities as well as its limitations. Non-programmers don't. They have no idea. They can only digest --and not always-- the commercial product they are been sold.

    On the other hand, there have been quite a few sci-fi novels/movies that indeed led to "scientific innovations", which you mentioned. One of the first that I can remember was Kubrick's "A Space Odyssey". After a few years since the film was projected to the cinema screens, we saw actual space stations. But this was pure material, machanical technology. No AI robots with consciousness, morality and such nonsence.

    Currently, robots get their Purpose from their programmers & controllers. But, they won't really be intelligent until they can operate independently.Gnomon
    Right. However, not only robots but also simple computers can operate "independently", at least appearing to do so. They contain appropriate programs based on which they act and "decide". But they don't and will never have free will and decide by themselves, as much as they can be evolved --sometimes to a large degree-- to do really amazing things.

    Now, as you say, all this happens "currently", it refers to the currenst state of affairs and also to what we can imagine as real possibilities, i.e. thinking pragmatically. And we can't know if some new, revolutionary technology can be created in this or other planet with humans in the future, most probably coming from some alien civilization ...

    Until then, I believe it is more useful and productive to think pragmatically and talk about pragmatic things! :smile:
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k
    The Enformationism thesis is indeed "exotic" and "non-standard". But that's only because it is on the cutting-edge of Information science & philosophy.
    — Gnomon
    A. In science, what specifiable problem does "Enformationism" solve falsifiably?

    B. In philosophy, what non-trivial, coherent question does "Enformationism" raise without begging any (or translate into a more probative question or questions)?
    180 Proof

    Most interesting! — Ms. Marple

    :fire:
  • Bylaw
    187
    A. In science, what specifiable problem does "Enformationism" solve falsifiably?

    B. In philosophy, what non-trivial, coherent question does "Enformationism" raise without begging any (or translate into a more probative question or questions)?
    180 Proof

    These are good challenges to enformationism. Does 'materialism' pass A & B? or physicalism?
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    (A) Neither proposal is an attempt to solve scientific problems; (B) instead, they are methodological criteria (not merely "worldviews") for excluding "immaterial" data and "nonphysical" concepts, respectively, from the construction of explanatory models of nature (i.e. phenomena). As such, IMO, materialism and physicalism have been prodigiously effective criteria for centuries despite their respective limitations.

    However, as far as I can tell, the "enformationism" (i.e. post-kantian idealism? (or) neo-Aristotlean/Thomistic essentialism?)^^ espoused by @Gnomon is a speculative kluge-solution in search of an even more spectulative problem; his "thesis" is some flavor of metaphysics (he calls it "Meta-Physics")^^ with theoretical pretenses which, IMO, amounts to "New Age" (e.g. Fritjof, Zukav, Sheldrake, et al) pseudo-philosophy / sophistry.
  • Bylaw
    187
    (A) Neither proposal is an attempt to solve scientific problems; (B) instead, they are methodological criteria (not merely "worldviews") for excluding "immaterial" data and "nonphysical" concepts, respectively, from the construction of explanatory models of nature (i.e. phenomena). As such, IMO, materialism and physicalism have been prodigiously effective criteria for centuries despite their respective limitations.180 Proof
    I couldn't follow this, my limitations probably. Neither proposal: is this enformationism and materialism or materialism and physicalism. (I probably should have just mentioned one of the two latter ones since they tend to be used interchangeably but not by everyone, just covering bases. We can go with just physicalism from now on, if that's ok).

    I am not sure what immaterial or 'immaterial' data would be.

    Moving from there, though, it seems to me that people don't exclude non-physical things when making models. I don't see that as part of the process, for a couple of reasons. 1) whatever the results of the research is, the objects and processes are considered physical. There's no moment when they go through research results see something X, consider it non-physical, and exclude it. They are building models off of research and every noun will be considered physical in advance and not labelled such. 2) Because anything considered real is considered physical, regardless of its qualities. Those things now considered physical have different qualities or lack qualities once consider part of being physical. We have fields, massless particles, 'things' in superposition. The concept of the physical is expanding and anything scientists find, they will consider real. I can't see a way to falsify what you consider a methodological criterion or physicalism itself.

    Then this last part about their being effective criteria. I don't think this is the case. Scientists do their research and what they find is considered real. I don't see a useful step where someone would decide in advance that something is immaterial so they won't investigate it. They may do this sometimes, but it would mean that whatever this phenomenon they won't study is, gets its substance determined most likely by non-scientists. Oh, they say it is non-physical, so I will rule that out and not study it because it fails on the criteria. What if it is real, but physical in a way that we do not understand yet. What we can measure and observe changes yearly. Why give the ontological determination power to an outsider. Now this certainly happens. People do this, but generally I think they choose not to investigate because they do not think the phenomenon is real. Not, oh, ghosts are immaterial, so there is no need to investigate. That's not a good reason to not investigate. Because of course why should laypeople get to have the power to determine ontology. If there did seem to be some evidence something is going on that is not an already accepted phenomenon, then it would be problematic to argue that there is no need to investigate, it's non-material. If it's real, it doesn't matter what it's substance is. The people who have experienced or 'experienced' the phenomenon should not get to make the determination. It might be physical, whatever this means, in ways we have not yet experienced or subtly in ways we have.

    I understand why other criteria tend to keep most scientists away from researching some things, but I think that would be a poor reason.

    Let me give a kind of example. Native africans thought that elephants communicated over long distances. This was not believed by Westerners until a Western scientist thought this was the case. The idea did not fit known science and perhaps technology, so it was considered magical thinking or that some kind of ESP was being proposed.

    If the scientist in question had decided on ontological grounds to not investigate, this would not, ultimately, be a rational choice. An understandible one, but not a good one.

    Using models of course does create a base from which to look at what could be investigated next. Current models are used this way. The current models of early periods have been used this way. But there really is no reason to use the criterion physical at any step in the process. If the models are considered good maps of the real, due to research data and ongoing effectiveness of those model predictively, etc, there is no reason to take a stand on the substance, especially if that substance is an expanding set of possible qualities.

    So, I suppose I have two points. I actually don't think physicalism is used as a methodological criterion when choosing research topics or in interpreting data or any other stage. Then also that I don't think it should be. And if it is, if that is the criterion that is used to rule out data, a research topic or results, then it may very well slow things down, be part of the problem/resistance during changes in paradigm, for example.
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    You're confusing philosophy with science and vice versa it seems to me. Whether or not scientists actually use the methods proposed is a completely separate topic from the cogency of the proposed methods / criteria themselves. Science testably solves problems and philosophy interprets science's testable solutions according to methods / criteria such as materialism or physicalism. That's my understanding of the history of the relations between philosophy and science.
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