Re: Information

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Thu May 03 2001 - 18:33:40 BST

  • Next message: Douglas Brooker: "Re: Information"

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    Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 18:33:40 +0100
    Subject: Re: Information
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    In-Reply-To: <3AF06BF1.14540.6C1D26@localhost>; from on Wed, May 02, 2001 at 08:20:01PM -0500
    From: Robin Faichney <>
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    On Wed, May 02, 2001 at 08:20:01PM -0500, wrote:
    > On 2 May 2001, at 9:49, Robin Faichney wrote:
    > > According to Roy Frieden, the laws of physics are generated by the
    > > attempt to minimize the difference between an entity or system's own,
    > > physical information, and the information that physicists can obtain
    > > about it. This account does not get awfully technical, at least as
    > > regards physics---we've just gone as deep into Frieden's work as we're
    > > going to go---but this distinction he draws is vital: between physical
    > > information, which exists for its own sake, and the more usual sort,
    > > information that's about something. (From
    > >
    > >
    > The Fisher Information distinction is between what information can
    > be drawn from an object considering Heisenbergian constraints and
    > the information that would be available in an observationally perfect
    > world, where observation interactions did not affect the state of the
    > observed object.

    Actually, it's broader than that, encompassing any and all contraints,
    not just Heisenbergian ones.

    > In either case, we are talking about observation,
    > either actual or hypothetical.

    As far as I can see, your distinction between "the information that
    would be available in an observationally perfect world" and an entity's
    intrinsic information is of no significance. And if it does have
    any significance, then it means that Frieden and the New Scientist
    journalist who wrote about his work are wrong, because they both talk
    about intrinsic information.

    More generally, in thermodynamics, material structure is considered as
    information, and is inversely proportional to entropy. If you want to
    argue with that, I suggest you seek out an appropriate forum -- but I
    doubt you'll convince many physicists to adopt your view.

    Robin Faichney
    Get your Meta-Information from
    (CAUTION: contains philosophy, may cause heads to spin)

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