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Paul Borrill: on 8/7/13 at 16:48pm UTC, wrote Jochen - I found your essay outstanding, and rated it accordingly. I...

David Levan: on 8/6/13 at 17:02pm UTC, wrote Hi Jochen, don't believe in hard problems, don't believe at all !! You...

Charles Card: on 8/6/13 at 4:04am UTC, wrote Late-in-the-Day Thoughts about the Essays I’ve Read I am sending to you...

Margriet O'Regan: on 8/6/13 at 0:21am UTC, wrote Hello Jochen from Margriet O'Regan - from DownUnder !! Among other aspects...

eAmazigh HANNOU: on 8/5/13 at 22:55pm UTC, wrote Dear Jochen, We are at the end of this essay contest. In conclusion, at...

Kyle Miller: on 8/5/13 at 17:20pm UTC, wrote I found your essay very informative and as a good way to explore (read: as...

Dipak Bhunia: on 8/5/13 at 7:41am UTC, wrote Dear Jochen, Its my pleasure to read your essay in this very last episode...

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FQXi FORUM
October 23, 2019

CATEGORY: It From Bit or Bit From It? Essay Contest (2013) [back]
TOPIC: Informational Ontologies and 'Hard' Problems by Jochen Szangolies [refresh]

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Author Jochen Szangolies wrote on Apr. 19, 2013 @ 10:10 GMT
Essay Abstract

Since Wheeler’s ‘it from bit’-proposal, informational ontologies have been considered a promising candidate for the description of the fundamental nature of the world. However, few concrete examples seem to be in wide discussion. I introduce a very general model ontology, based on the notion of information states in an information space, whose dynamics are supplied by computations acting on them. I point out that such approaches lead to hard problems, the paradigm example of which is the mind-body problem: the underdetermination of the mental by the physical. However, I argue that a relational or relative-facts account of information sheds new light on this and similar problems, such as for instance the problem of deciding which computation is realized by a given physical system, and the quantum measurement problem.

Author Bio

Jochen Szangolies studied Physics at the University of Siegen, and is currently a PhD student at Heinrich Heine-University Düsseldorf, where he works on quantum contextuality and quantum correlations.

Paul Reed wrote on Apr. 19, 2013 @ 18:48 GMT
Jochen

“anything can be either round or not round…”

Physically, anything can only be anything, it cannot be anything else. If the representation is effected at a higher level of differentiation than what physically exists, then ‘things’ can be categorised as the ‘same’. But this does not create physical existence, it creates a categorisation thereof....

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Jochen Szangolies replied on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 07:25 GMT
Perhaps I did not do a very good job at explaining the project I am engaged in with my essay. Basically, when I say 'anything can either be round or not round', I do not mean that the same physical object can be one way or the other, but that among all possible objects, there are those that are round, and those that are not. Thus, the alternative 'round/not round' partitions this set in two. You...

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Paul Reed replied on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 14:48 GMT
Jochen

Yes, but my point was you need a definition of ‘round’. And, by definition, if you define that precisely, you will only relate it to one existent state, ie that unique one you refer to. That is, anything can only be anything, it cannot be something else.

And, OK, but you do not have to take this approach to get to that answer. Based on input received, we can identify...

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Author Jochen Szangolies replied on Apr. 21, 2013 @ 10:22 GMT
Paul, I'm not sure I need a definition of 'round': what I really need is a concept of difference, so that, if I had a round object, I could classify all other objects according to 'different from that object'---i.e. not round---, or 'not different from that object'---i.e. round. Note the counterfactual language: I do not need an actual round object, I just need the possibility of classifying...

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Philip Gibbs wrote on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 14:23 GMT
Jochen, this is a very thought provoking essay. I think your concept of relative facts has a pedigree going back to the Victorian relativity of knowledge, or perhaps further to Leibniz as you mention, but you have given it a modern informational perspective. I am convinced by your arguments that understanding hard problems such as consciousness require a good grasp of the interpretation of...

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Author Jochen Szangolies replied on Apr. 21, 2013 @ 10:08 GMT
Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Philip. Yes, I believe you can trace the concept of relative facts quite far through history, but I'd like to stress that I don't consider myself a relativist when it comes to knowledge. I think probably relative facts should best be understood in analogy to temporal facts: think of the sentence 'it is raining here'. This is false now, but was true a few days...

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Philip Gibbs replied on Apr. 21, 2013 @ 16:34 GMT
Thanks for the interesting pointers, I was not familiar with most of these things.

My opinion is that logic and mathematics is sufficiently universal that intelligent minds could establish communication by sending messages, even if they have no common grounds, I realize that this would be controversial among philosophers of mathematics. It depends on the old debate about whether mathematics is discovered or invented. I think that basic mathematics concepts such as numbers are discovered but I am not sure I can really make a totally convincing argument. Perhaps some day they will be able to test these things by generating intelligent minds in computers that have no idea of the outside physical world. They could allow two such minds to communicate with just strings if bits and see if they can manage to understand each other

This does not necessarily mean that your idea of relative facts is wrong, just that you have to take care about what it means. It requires messages written in a very special way and a high level of intelligence to get over the lack of context. That is not representative of information in physics.

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Author Jochen Szangolies replied on Apr. 21, 2013 @ 17:15 GMT
One possibility I have been thinking about to facilitate such communication may be to collapse the outer and the inner message into one, taking advantage of the possibility of self-reference: one could encode a message saying 'this message contains n bits of information' in a string of Kolmogorov complexity n. That way, any alien intelligence could at least approximate the content of the message...

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Leo Vuyk wrote on Apr. 23, 2013 @ 16:19 GMT
Hi Jochen,

Very Interesting essay!

You wrote at the end of 4:

“In many worlds, both the electron spin is up' and the electron spin is down' are true; in the

relative-facts setting, only `the spin of the electron is (up/down) relative to the measurement

apparatus recording (up/down)' is true. A universe of relative facts is not a multiverse!”

I think there is one possibility that a universe of relative facts is a multiverse,

The possibility that the Big Bang produced fully symmetric and entangled anti-copy universes.

Then, there is at least one Charge Parity symmetrical anti-universe ( a mirror world) with equal time because all clocks over there are running (spinning) only in the opposite direction.

To make this a bit more redundant and symmetric, I propose that we live inside a 12 lobed dodecahedron raspberry shaped symmetric multiverse.

However then GOD PLAYS DICE with 12 entangled CP symmetric pinball machines where each pinball is instant connected to its anti-copy living in that other universe.

Perhaps we are even able to measure the number of these raspberry lobes if we are able to observe a definite number of neighbouring lobes in the CBradiation pattern, or even by repeating the well known Benjamin Libet experiments on reaction times and preplanning thoughts ( RPs) of test persons.

See attachments

Leo Vuyk.

http://vixra.org/author/leo_vuyk

attachments: B.Libet_Preplanning_vs_Free_Will..jpg

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Leo Vuyk replied on Apr. 23, 2013 @ 16:24 GMT
sorry one attachment did not pas.

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Anonymous replied on Apr. 23, 2013 @ 17:01 GMT
Hi Leo, thanks for your comments and for finding my essay interesting. You make great leaps and bounds in your reply, and I'm unable to follow you at that speed (I've always been a bit of a slow one), so I'm not sure I can cogently reply to them... In general, I'm not a particular fan of multiverses: in particular, I have never seen the term 'universe' defined well enough in order to judge whether there's one or more of them around. It might sound facetious, but, you and me, are we in the same universe? There's things that definitely exist in your universe, but not in mine: your thoughts, feelings, experiences, etc. Furthermore, you have been influenced by events that I have not yet come in causal contact with, i.e. our past lightcones do not overlap---our celestial spheres differ. Then, you experience everything in the world from your unique vintage point---an experience I never could share.

So in the end, what makes a universe? I couldn't claim to know. And much less so in the case of any supposed multiverses.

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Author Jochen Szangolies replied on Apr. 23, 2013 @ 17:03 GMT
Just posting to say that the above was me---I must've gotten logged out somehow.

Paul Reed wrote on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 05:20 GMT
Jochen

“I would be shocked if there ever were a limiting distance discovered for entanglement”

This is another one of those statements which invokes a ‘how can that correspond with physical existence’ reaction. Please note this is not a personal comment, I know this is the ‘common understanding’, you just happen to be the one saying it now!

As with all of what I...

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Author Jochen Szangolies replied on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 05:36 GMT
Paul, you seem to be making a lot of demands on nature that it has to fulfill in order to make sense to you. But nature may not actually have that goal.

Regarding entanglement, it's not really an interaction---it is produced in an interaction, but it is only the resulting correlation (say, between the spins of two particles, to be precise). Finding out one spin then gives you information about the other. That's not prima facie different from the classical word: if I have a red and a green ball, and place each in a box, shuffle them, and give you one, if you open your box and find the red ball, you will immediately know that mine contains the green one, no matter our spatial distance. The difference is just that in classical mechanics, you can meaningfully infer that the red ball was in your box before you looked; but in quantum mechanics, that inference leads to observable contradictions. This is encapsulated in the fact that quantum correlations are 'stronger' than classical ones.

About your assertion that there is 'one state at a time', this too is something in direct conflict in quantum mechanics. Leggett and Garg have shown that it leads to inequalities that any theory in which physical evolution proceeds according to the maxim 'one state at a time' must obey, but which are again experimentally violated in quantum mechanics.

So while the world might make more sense to us all if it worked the way you want it to, it does not seem that the world cares terribly much about that (and of course, that'S a good thing, as it is well known that no purely classical world would be physically coherent---you could not have stable atoms, for instance).

Paul Reed replied on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 05:18 GMT
Jochen

I am making no demands of nature, just stating, in generic terms, how it must be. Indeed, I would not attribute it with a “goal”. How this manifests in practice is a different matter, but that cannot contravene the rules of its existence.

Another way of putting this is that you need to find the flaw in my argument (which is a simple statement after all), and/or (really...

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Author Jochen Szangolies replied on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 09:30 GMT
How is saying how nature 'must be' not making demands on it? For one, this assumes that your intellect is capable of even grasping the relevant concepts for understanding how nature is, which is not necessarily a given---consider a giraffe: just as it would be fruitless to try and teach it calculus, it might be fruitless for a human to try and understand how nature works. You therefore can't claim...

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Jacek Safuta wrote on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 10:22 GMT
Hi Jochen,fantastic essay, congratulations.

You cite Leibnitz “take, for instance, ink splattered onto a page by shaking a quill. The distribution of ink blots on the page now will be effectively random. But nevertheless, one can always find a mathematical formula describing this distribution. Thus, the mere presence of such a mathematical formula does not indicate lawfulness. Rather, Leibniz argues, something should be considered lawful only if the complexity of the mathematical formula is less than the complexity of a simple description of, say, the ink blots on the paper.”

You can find a realization of that approach in my very short essay: http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1609

Do I risk a lot reducing your discussion with Deutch and your conclusion to the perception issue? Finally that issue is absolutely crucial point before we start any discussion in physics. Could we agree e.g. that hardware and software cannot be separated in Nature (that entity we call Reality)? So there is no underlying hardware but also no fixed reference point?

Thanks

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Author Jochen Szangolies replied on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 16:03 GMT
Hi Jacek, thanks for your comment; I'll have a look at your essay. I'm not sure what you mean with 'the perception issue', but as for hardware and software, my thinking is really that the same hardware can be seen as implementing different computations; and likewise, the same computations can be implemented on different hardware. So there's no one-to-one correspondence between both. In this sense, if we're the computation, as Deutsch says, there is no fact of the matter regarding the hardware---one would have to fix a reference in order to make the relative facts definite. So, since I believe that just the relative facts are enough, in this sense, yes, I think there's no underlying 'hardware'.

Anton Lorenz Vrba wrote on May. 13, 2013 @ 12:18 GMT
I enjoyed your philosophical view on information and reality, a good essay.

I quote from your conclusion. "But many such references exist, and none are objectively privileged, in the same way that no Minkowski frame is privileged in Special Relativity." That is exactly what one would expect, but a mathematical analysis of information content in the Michelson-Morley apparatus in different inertial frames shows your statement is not true.

I have done that analysis in my essay and would be very interested of your opinion of the mathematical analysis that I present in my essay. You are at the start of your career and the paradox that I present should sound alarm bells to you, and should be answered one way or another.

For the sake of physics I would love to be proven wrong or be shown that I am inconsistent with my analysis

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Cristinel Stoica wrote on May. 19, 2013 @ 09:20 GMT
Dear Jochen,

Your essay starts with a truly honest introduction of the reader to the problems of informational and computational ontologies. While some, when building such ontologies, pretend there are no problems with this, you acknowledged them. Acknowledging the problem is the first step toward a solution, and I very much like the one you proposed, which is an an account in terms of relative properties or relative facts. If I understand well, you avoid the need of an "it" to which the "bits" should refer, by allowing as interpretation all possible "bits" as playng the role of the reference "it". This indeed allows all possible digital worlds to coexist in a relative sort of existence (I made a somewhat similar case for logical consistency as a principle to extract possible worlds from the principle of explosion). You said in the comment to my essay "I think your realization that ultimately, all we know of the world are relations is very deep, and is in a certain sense at the foundation of my own thinking, as well." I see what you mean by this: in the quantum measurement problem, you say that your account doesn't lead to many worlds, but to relations between the observed system and the outcome. You explained this difference by "in the relative-facts setting, only 'the spin of the electron is (up/down) relative to the measurement apparatus recording (up/down)' is true". We can see this as a relation in mathematical sense. For example, a one-to-one relation between possible observed outcomes (eigenvalues), and eigenspaces in the Hilbert space. In this sense, what is real are not necessarily the states, but the relations. Of course, when we move to decohered states, we can say that we moved from the abstract relation, to states which satisfy it. I find this in agreement with my global consistency proposal. I like your essay very much!

Best regards,

Cristi

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Author Jochen Szangolies replied on May. 19, 2013 @ 10:54 GMT
Thank you for your kind comments, Christi. In a sense, my view has its origin, as you seem to have guessed, in the fact that one can regard the quantum state as being all about relations: you can always reconstruct the wavefunction of a system from the knowledge of all subsystem correlations (independently of the particular decomposition of the system into subsystems you choose). Furthermore,...

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on May. 19, 2013 @ 23:27 GMT
Jochen,

Your essay is one of the better ones here. I agree with your assessment that information involves differences. I think this applies to quantum information as well. Qubits are just a way of representing quantum states, so the state vector

|ψ> = a_0|0> + e^{iφ}a_1|1>

is written as the vector (a_0, e^{iφ}a_1) that stands for a two state...

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Marcus Arvan wrote on May. 24, 2013 @ 21:14 GMT
Jochen: I think you're misunderstanding the hard problem of consciousness. Your account is entirely relational/quantitative in nature -- you aim to understand everything (all information) in terms of "mere difference". But the hard problem is precisely that conscious states don't appear relational/quantitative in nature, or reducible to mere difference. Gregg Rosenberg, Bertrand Russell, David Chalmers and many others have made this point forcefully. See for example Gregg Rosenberg's 2005 Oxford University Press on consciousness.

Your point that a "zombie" could have all of the informational states of you or I, and so *think* it is conscious, misses the point of the hard problem. The problem is that although such a zombie might *think* it has consciousness, that thought would be false. For, while one can encode thoughts in purely relationally/quantitative terms, experiences (such as redness, greenness, etc.) are *qualitative*, not quantitative. They cannot be relationally understood in any sense. Which is why attempts to do so (e.g. Dennett's Consciousness Explained) seem to miss the point (which is why his book is sometimes pejoratively referred to as Consciousness *Un*explained). Anyway, I appreciate the attempt to understand the world informationally -- but, while I think most of reality can be understood that way, consciousness cannot. The physical word is quantitative, consciousness qualitative -- which is a fundamental difference.

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on May. 25, 2013 @ 02:35 GMT
Hi Marcus, Jochen,

I thought that neither consciousness nor quantum mechanics could be reduced to just information (1's and 0's). In the case of consciousness, the neuron is not the fundamental unit of intelligence. Instead, it's the proteins and neurochemicals inside the neurons and the synaptic cleft. Proteins are carriers of information through the brain. However, these same neurochemicals are small enough to be described by a wave-function and therefore subject to quantum effects.

On the quantum mechanics side, two slit diffraction seems to tease us with the possibility that quantum waves might really exist and are things that span across geometric distances like soap bubbles. They dazzle us with their Freznel patterns, then pop when we try to touch them. Similarly, consciousness is some teasingly magical phenomena of quantum mechanics that torments us with promises of an afterlife and then dashes our hopes with mortal decay. The ultimate truth seems to be coddled within the insurmountable paradox of particle wave duality. When our bodies die, our consciousness will both "survive" and "not survive" the death experience consistent with some Schrodinger cat paradox.

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Author Jochen Szangolies replied on May. 25, 2013 @ 10:00 GMT
Dear Marcus,

maybe I made my view on the hard problem insufficiently clear. I do get the usual arguments---or at least, I do believe so---, and I agree with them: there is no way to derive phenomenal facts from physical facts. Given just the complete description of the physical state of someone's brain, you can't deduce 'what it's like' to be them. Zombies indeed might reply to all...

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Author Jochen Szangolies replied on May. 25, 2013 @ 10:13 GMT
Dear Jason,

well, whether quantum mechanics and consciousness can be captured informationally is of course the question of this whole essay contest. I think an argument can be made in favour of this possibility by noting that both can plausibly be simulated on a computer, which manifestly only has ones and zeros running about. And of course, it was quantum mechanics that first prompted...

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Paul Reed wrote on May. 26, 2013 @ 12:50 GMT
Jason

True, but that was not the point was it. In the context of this thread the point is that consciousness/thinking/observation/measuring, etc can have no affect on the physical circumstance, because that has already occurred.

Paul

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on May. 26, 2013 @ 19:35 GMT
Paul,

The idea that classical mechanisms are going to explain the hard problem of consciousness is simply naive. Consciousness, by virtue of the brain, is replete with countless chemical reactions and neurochemical bonding, all of which gives rise to wave-functions. It's like being knee deep in water (quantum mechanics) and expecting consciousness to be a dry process (classical).

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Paul Reed replied on May. 27, 2013 @ 03:47 GMT
Jason

I did not know that consciousness was an area for physics. And as I have said before, it can have no affect on the physical circumstance because that has already occurred. All consciousness, and associated processing, does is generate a perception of the physical input received in sentient organisms. Which is important in so far as that is how awareness of physical existence is enabled, ie the brick wall behind you also receives light but cannot subsequently process it. But this is not physics, physical existence exists independently of the mechanisms that detect it occurrence.

Paul

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Lawrence B Crowell replied on May. 27, 2013 @ 19:21 GMT
I think consciousness is not due to some coherent wave function in the brain. The brain is warm and any quantum wave is subject to thermal decoherence. There are of course molecules of various sizes, but any quantum wave function on them is probably disrupted thermally into decoherence on a very short time frame. They would then be subjected to the quantum Zeno effect.

The correspondence between information and consciousness is a conjecture at this point. If I were to think within this conjecture I would say the problem we have with AI being able to capture consciousness is with the I/O structure. A computer has a very limited number of input or sensory elements and similarly a limited number of output systems. By way of contrast the tips of our fingers have 100,000 sensory neurons, and billions of other sensory inputs for vision, acoustics, chemical reception, touch and so forth. In the realm of AI theory there are oracle computing systems, and the brain seems to be a management system for billions of oracle inputs. As a result AI has largely been operating within a theory of closed systems, while the brain operates as an open system.

Cheers LC

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Antony Ryan wrote on Jun. 5, 2013 @ 00:23 GMT
Hi jochen,

Very thorough examination of what information is. "The intuitive idea here is

that a message carries more information the longer its shortest possible description is" quote summed it up perfectly. Again another good look at how this all relates to biology and consciousness.

I was pleased (and relieved) to note that you made a disclaimer to me for the use of 0 and 1 as "simply the minimal number of symbols needed" [for base 2]/Binary.

Nice approach - certainly seems to have caused some good debate on here!

Best Wishes

Antony

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Author Jochen Szangolies replied on Jun. 5, 2013 @ 05:33 GMT
Hi Antony,

thank you for your comments and good wishes. Yes, in the popular press, a lot is sometimes made of information 'being' just ones and zeros, where that representation is completely arbitrary---in fact, it's this arbitrariness that yields an important clue regarding what information 'is'. The point is perhaps somewhat obvious, but I wanted to see it made nevertheless.

I see that in your essay, you've made a connection to the ubiquitous Fibonacci series---one of those mathematical mysteries that seems to pop up wherever you look. So I'll have a look at that one next...

Antony Ryan replied on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 20:53 GMT
Thanks Jochen - hope you enjoyed it. Any questions please ask. Best wishes Antony

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Peter Jackson wrote on Jun. 6, 2013 @ 10:18 GMT
Jochen,

The apparent triviality of your thesis is underlain by some important clarifications, and is anyway important as the 'relative facts' approach is a good rationalisation of what binaries can and can't do.

I don't agree binaries as presently used can accurately describe the evolution of nature, but as I understand it you don't suggest that (as Bateson; the informational underdetermines the physical). I see this as underparametrisation the greatest cause of confusion in physics. Again as you say; Any given observer, -any given reference frame- singles out a notion of simultaneity, but no such notion can cover all observers and all reference frames. Simultaneity is thus only definite relative to a reference frame.

I thus find great conceptual similarity with my own essay "The Intelligent Bit", which proposes effetive 'subsets' in the (Godel) INCLUDED 'middle' between 0 and 1, considered as an uncertain (Bayesian) quantum probability distribution. We may then revert to a new 'sample space' of 0,1, between which there is then yet another level of non zero distribution. It may then logically follows that no two physical entities or interactions are identical, or, as you say, "no two people ever see exactly the same rainbow." I follow that conclusion to show how powerful it can be in resolving the EPR paradox!

A very nice essay, well written and rationalised. I hope you'll read and comment on mine, but warn you it may be rather over 'dense' compared to yours.

best of luck in the contest.

Peter

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Torsten Asselmeyer-Maluga wrote on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 08:12 GMT
Jochen,

I'm deeply sorry for overlooking your answer in my essay thread.

In particular I have to read the refernces you gave. The whole subject is not easy reading, I know it. We (Carl and me) needed 7 years to write the book "Exotic smoothness and physics", in particular to present the topic as easy as possible.

The idea of the usage of wild embeddings as quantum states was born last year before the FQXi essay contest. I understand your problems with "geometrization of the quantum". It took me also a long time to accept it.

But let me clarify, my main interest is in the interplay between 3D and 4D. The introduction of smoothness structures is necessary if you consider the path integral in quantum gravity. You have to integrate over all exotic smoothness structures. It was folklore in the 90s that the man contribution came from the exotic part. But no one was able to proof it. For the exotic R^4 I'm not far away to proof it.

In my whole work I was driven by "naturalness". The next structure afetr the topology (before geometry) is the smoothness structure which is not unique in 4D. Therefore one must consider them.

I also enjoy reading your essay and I agree in most points. I'm also glad that you also like Weizsäcker (which is mostly forgotten in the physics community).

All the best for the contest

Torsten

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Jun. 16, 2013 @ 15:52 GMT
Dear Jochen Szangolies

It would be more convincing if your conclusion concise and clear so that everyone can understand: it's from the bit or bits from it.

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1802

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Jun. 27, 2013 @ 03:41 GMT
Send to all of you

THE ADDITIONAL ARTICLES AND A SMALL TEST FOR MUTUAL BENEFIT

To change the atmosphere "abstract" of the competition and to demonstrate for the real preeminent possibility of the Absolute theory as well as to clarify the issues I mentioned in the essay and to avoid duplicate questions after receiving the opinion of you , I will add a reply to you :

1 . THE...

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Jun. 28, 2013 @ 02:37 GMT
Dear

Thank you for presenting your nice essay. I saw the abstract and will post my comments soon.

So you can produce material from your thinking. . . .

I am requesting you to go through my essay also. And I take this opportunity to say, to come to reality and base your arguments on experimental results.

I failed mainly because I worked against the main stream. The...

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Jul. 3, 2013 @ 18:07 GMT
Jochen,

If given the time and the wits to evaluate over 120 more entries, I have a month to try. My seemingly whimsical title, “It’s good to be the king,” is serious about our subject.

Jim

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Akinbo Ojo wrote on Jul. 4, 2013 @ 19:27 GMT
Hello Jochen

Well put together essay and references, although we may not be in the same camp.

You also quote Leibniz frequently in your opening, which I also do.

Now following from your essay

RE: Some of these properties may be dichotomic: that is, there are only two alternatives regarding how it may turn out; an object may either have or not have that property...

RE: We have now a canonical way of associating what I will call an information state to each conceivable object: draw up a list of ALL possible properties an object may have, break these down into elementary alternatives in some fixed order, and mark the value of each alternative with either a 1 or a 0.

RE: This fixes a description for every object we might concern ourselves with.

OKAY! MY CONCEIVABLE OBJECT IS A DRAGON

RE: What we have forgotten in drawing up our informational ontology is the list of properties we had to fix first: only given this list does a certain information state correspond directly to a certain physical object.

SO WHAT PROPERTY OR INFORMATION IS MISSING ON THE LIST THAT HAS A YES/NO ANSWER TO CORRESPOND TO A DRAGON?

I use this example to buttress and illustrate what you rightly pointed out if I get you correctly…, shortcomings may arise from informational ontologies and encounter 'hard problems' IF The Great Simulator's list of properties is incomplete. By this I imply exist/does-not-exist must be in the list of properties, where what exists must have extension.

Best regards,

Akinbo

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Stephen James Anastasi wrote on Jul. 22, 2013 @ 00:03 GMT
Hello Jochen

Nice effort, I thought. Parts (related to properties) seemed similar to the state of an argument I was pursuing in 1996 that later led to the recognition of a global argument, although I took a very different direction after I recognised that the properties argument implied that the world should collapse to a minimally simple entity (see my essay).

With respect to continuous properties, you say that there is no simple way to decompose such into elementary alternatives. You might be interested to consider the attached with respect to geometry. I find that the same aspect can be generalized to properties, so, while it may not be evident how to decompose properties to elements, this does not mean that such is not the case. Iterations of the left/right half space are not really fundamental to the actual existence of a particular property. I think this makes your argument stronger in some ways.

With respect to the colored marbles, recognize that the claim that the only difference between the marbles is color is to say that it is color that holds them apart, similar to an argument by Heidegger. That is, the argument assumes and pays no attention to a background spacetime. But perhaps this is not so important to your points made.

I think the mind body problem remains, for there can be no consciousness in a single bit, nor in a series of bits of information. What is needed to solve this problem is to show how such information can have a synthesis over time to be called consciousness, at minimum an entity with the capacity to recognize equivalence and difference.

Best wishes,

Stephen Anastasi

attachments: A_problem_for_geometry_1.pdf

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Than Tin wrote on Jul. 25, 2013 @ 05:06 GMT
Hello Jochen

Richard Feynman in his Nobel Acceptance Speech (http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/19
65/feynman-lecture.html)

said: “It always seems odd to me that the fundamental laws of physics, when discovered, can appear in so many different forms that are not apparently identical at first, but with a little mathematical fiddling you can show the...

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Michel Planat wrote on Aug. 1, 2013 @ 12:42 GMT
Dear Jochen,

Your deep essay left alone is going to be unnoticed, it is a pity!

Let me know when you are back to us for discussion.

Best regards,

Michel

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Author Jochen Szangolies replied on Aug. 1, 2013 @ 13:56 GMT
Dear Michel,

thanks for your sentiment; I'm very sorry I haven't been able to attend to this as much as I had hoped to, but real world concerns interfered. I'm nevertheless grateful for every comment, and appreciate the points that have been made in response to and discussion of my essay greatly; they have been very helpful in sharpening and reformulating my ideas, something on which I am making (slow) progress. Eventually, I hope to be able to present these things in a more convincing, more well-rounded form.

Anyway, I'll now be travelling for some time, I'll try and check in; if you want to add some comments/criticism, I'll hopefully be able to address it in due time.

Thanks for your comment,

Jochen

Michel Planat replied on Aug. 1, 2013 @ 19:43 GMT
Dear Jochen

Tomorrow I will post some comments. Meanwhile I rated your essay.

Have good summer holidays.

Michel

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Michel Planat replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 10:11 GMT
Dear Jochen,

By the way my comment will be extremely short. If I understand you correctly we need a language of relations to comprehend hard problems. As far as I know, the categorical language is appropriate (for quantum physics Bob Coecke and others).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_(mathematics)

Have a good summer time.

Michel

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Héctor Daniel Gianni wrote on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 19:17 GMT
Dear Jochen Szangolies:

I am an old physician and I don’t know nothing of mathematics and almost nothing of physics,

But maybe you would be interested in my essay over a subject which after the common people, physic discipline is the one that uses more than any other, the so called “time”. No one...

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Héctor Daniel Gianni wrote on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 19:22 GMT
Dear Jochen Szangolies:

I am an old physician and I don’t know nothing of mathematics and almost nothing of physics,

But maybe you would be interested in my essay over a subject which after the common people, physic discipline is the one that uses more than any other, the so called “time”. No one...

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Peter Jackson wrote on Aug. 3, 2013 @ 18:22 GMT
Jochen,

I note no responses since June 5th, (I posted on the 6th) but your excellent essay is deservedly almost into the final group. I hope you are well?

I would be really grateful if you could read and comment on mine which I think is entirely consistent and shows the power of the thesis. I think we both deserve a good placing, and I'd like to discuss some of the points you raise.

Please ignore the abstract which has wrongly put some off and go by the blog posts including; "it's remarkable!,"It is groundbreaking." "your work is clearly significant", "I think you've done a fantastic job." "...his wonderful essay", "I am deeply impressed", "I accept unequivocally your solution.", "I admire your dedication to science and truth" and "It's complete anti-doctrinal nonsense" (OK, I made that last one up!)

Very best wishes.

Peter

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Michel Planat wrote on Aug. 3, 2013 @ 19:49 GMT
Dear Jochen,

My comment was not recorded but my maximum rate was. Your are on a good slope. Have good travelling and holidays.

All the best,

Michel

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Anonymous wrote on Aug. 4, 2013 @ 02:41 GMT
Hi Jochen,

Thanks for an excellent essay. It is great to see someone acknowledging the hard problems.

> What is the relation between information and reality as we observe it?... So it seems that everything we can say about the physical world, we can say in terms of computations acting on information spaces

You might enjoy my essay Software Cosmos in which I show how far we...

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Hugh Matlock replied on Aug. 4, 2013 @ 02:53 GMT
I am commenting in order to sign this post.

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Dipak Kumar Bhunia wrote on Aug. 5, 2013 @ 07:41 GMT
Dear Jochen,

Its my pleasure to read your essay in this very last episode of the contest one after another in very quick in approaches which is unusual to my habit. I think we are talking about something regarding deeper realization of fundamental nature. In your words it is like:

"...The world is then not something comprised, at the very bottom, of things, but rather, it is given by a web of relations.

Ultimately, the nal reference is that provided by the observer: the possibility that your brain gives rise to your experience entails that there exists a point of view from which your experience is actual. This yields your experience of the world."

I refer that "realization" as 'the digital limits of the observers like us to perceive the same.

Thanks for the presentation and hope for your rank in the contest.

I will rate your essay in higher end.

regards

Dipak

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Kyle Miller wrote on Aug. 5, 2013 @ 17:20 GMT
I found your essay very informative and as a good way to explore (read: as an intro to) many of the topics that are connected to the essay prompt. These are heady philosophical areas, the so-called hard problems of consciousness and so on. It's hard to envision information processing as the fundamental or ontological bottom of the world, which is partly why it is an exercise worth undertaking.

Please see my essay: All Your Base Are Belong To Math.

- Kyle Miller

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eAmazigh M. HANNOU wrote on Aug. 5, 2013 @ 22:55 GMT
Dear Jochen,

We are at the end of this essay contest.

In conclusion, at the question to know if Information is more fundamental than Matter, there is a good reason to answer that Matter is made of an amazing mixture of eInfo and eEnergy, at the same time.

Matter is thus eInfo made with eEnergy rather than answer it is made with eEnergy and eInfo ; because eInfo is eEnergy, and the one does not go without the other one.

eEnergy and eInfo are the two basic Principles of the eUniverse. Nothing can exist if it is not eEnergy, and any object is eInfo, and therefore eEnergy.

And consequently our eReality is eInfo made with eEnergy. And the final verdict is : eReality is virtual, and virtuality is our fundamental eReality.

Good luck to the winners,

And see you soon, with good news on this topic, and the Theory of Everything.

Amazigh H.

I rated your essay.

Please visit My essay.

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Margriet Anne O'Regan wrote on Aug. 6, 2013 @ 00:21 GMT
Hello Jochen from Margriet O'Regan - from DownUnder !!

Among other aspects of your essay which interested me was your description of how to go about how to represent any object in informational form, which representation you assume to be accomplished 'digitally'. My definition of information is a non-digital one (see below & in my essay) & one of its many advantages is that it enables...

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Charles Raldo Card wrote on Aug. 6, 2013 @ 04:04 GMT
Late-in-the-Day Thoughts about the Essays I’ve Read

I am sending to you the following thoughts because I found your essay particularly well stated, insightful, and helpful, even though in certain respects we may significantly diverge in our viewpoints. Thank you! Lumping and sorting is a dangerous adventure; let me apologize in advance if I have significantly misread or misrepresented...

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David Levan wrote on Aug. 6, 2013 @ 17:02 GMT
Hi Jochen,

don't believe in hard problems, don't believe at all !!

You are on a good way, maybe can you extract something from my essay.

Good luck

David Levan

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Paul Borrill wrote on Aug. 7, 2013 @ 16:48 GMT
Jochen - I found your essay outstanding, and rated it accordingly.

I loved your opening paragraph about information crating an elementary distinction, and Leibniz’ quantifiability. This, of course, is the difference between a smooth (and perhaps empty) continuum, and the matter that the universe computes.

If you haven’t seen it before, the book by Steven French and Decio Krause [1] provides an excellent analysis of the issues of identity and individuality which fits in nicely with what you have written. I have taken another step in this direction with the principle of retroactive discernability in my essay.

I concurr that Putnam & Searle’s conclusion that every physical system can be seen to implement every computation is too strong. My own conclusion is a bit looser: "the photon is the carrier of time and the universe is a network automaton".

I would be most honored by your review of my essay.

Kind regards, Paul

[1] French, Steven, and Decio Krause. Identity in Physics: A Historical, Philosophical, and Formal Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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