Re: Information
Tue, 23 Jun 1998 16:39:17 EDT

In a message dated 6/23/98 4:19:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time, james@lloyd- writes:

<< Gerhard Kessell-Haak queried on Tue, 23 Jun 1998
at 09:33:24 +1200 :

>Can anybody think of anything more fundamental than information?

I'm new to this, so my apologies in advance if I violate any etiquette.

There are different ways in which something can be fundamental.. We can speak
of whether something is fundamental in a physically foundational sense (what
underlying physical material is making THIS physical material do what it does,
or exist?). We could also speak of whether something is fundamental in an
epistemological sense (what concept makes the acceptance of THIS concept
logically possible?). I think that if we examine all the different uses of
the word, though, the pattern that emerges is that something is fundamental if
it is necessary to exist for anything else to exist.

So with that in mind, information is not fundamental, because for information
to exist there must be things =about= which there can be information. I might
be misreading how you're using the word information though.

Is a fact (which is presumably what makes up information) ABOUT something
identical with whatever aspect of that something it describes? It seems far
more plausible to me, here at the outset, that a set of all the facts that
describe X is NOT identical with X itself. But perhaps that set and X are
instantiated simultaneously. The set exists when X exists, and X exists when
the set exists. Or can the set really only exist if there is a conscious mind
to create it?

Unless the set of facts are one and the same as X, information is not the most
fundamental thing.