The Integrated InformationTheory (IIT) is a leading scientific theory of consciousness, which implies a kind of panpsychism. In this paper, I consider whether IIT is compatible with a particular kind of panpsychism known as Russellian panpsychism, which purports to avoid the main problems of both physicalism and dualism. I will first show that if IIT were compatible with Russellian panpsychism, it would contribute to solving Russellian panpsychism’s combination problem, which threatens to show that the view does (...) not avoid the main problems of physicalism and dualism after all. I then show that IIT and Russellian panpsychism are not compatible as they currently stand, because of a problem which I will call the coarse-graining problem. After I explain the coarse-graining problem, I offer two possible solutions, each involving a small modification of IIT. Given either of these modifications, IIT and Russellian panpsychism may be fully compatible after all and jointly enable significant progress on the mind-body problem. (shrink)
A classic source for understanding the connections between informationtheory and physics, this text was written by one of the giants of 20th-century physics and is appropriate for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students. Topics include the principles of coding, coding problems and solutions, the analysis of signals, a summary of thermodynamics, thermal agitation and Brownian motion, and thermal noise in an electric circuit. A discussion of the negentropy principle of information introduces the author's renowned examination of Maxwell's (...) demon. Concluding chapters explore the associations between informationtheory, the uncertainty principle, and physical limits of observation, in addition to problems related to computing, organizing information, and inevitable errors. 1962 ed. 81 figures. 14 tables. (shrink)
Integrated InformationTheory (IIT) of Consciousness is becoming an increasingly popular neuroscientific account of phenomenal experience. IIT claims that consciousness is integrated information in a system. I set this theory against the hard problem of consciousness (Chalmers, 1996, 1995) as the goal for a theory of consciousness to meet. In this essay I look to examine and ultimately critique IIT’s use of the notion of information to base a theory of consciousness. I argue (...) that the notion of information in IIT is a purely structural-dynamical notion, and so falls afoul of the structure and dynamics argument (Chalmers, 2003). I bolster these claims by appeal to the explanatory gap argument and show how IIT succumbs to this argument as well. For these reasons, I call into doubt IIT’s ability to answer the hard problem of consciousness. Although this paper argues against the notion of information in IIT, in a broader context the criticisms which I raise here can be brought against any theory that attempts to explain consciousness as an information-theoretic phenomenon. (shrink)
Communication is an important feature of the living world that mainstream biology fails to adequately deal with. Applying two main disciplines can be contemplated to fill in this gap: semiotics and informationtheory. Semiotics is a philosophical discipline mainly concerned with meaning; applying it to life already originated in biosemiotics. Informationtheory is a mathematical discipline coming from engineering which has literal communication as purpose. Biosemiotics and informationtheory are thus concerned with distinct and (...) complementary possible meanings of the word ‘communication’. Since literal communication needs to be secured so as to enable semantics being communicated, informationtheory is a necessary prerequisite to biosemiotics. Moreover, heredity is a purely literal communication process of capital importance fully relevant to literal communication, hence to informationtheory. A short introduction to discrete informationtheory is proposed, which is centred on the concept of redundancy and its use in order to make sequences resilient to errors. Informationtheory has been an extremely active and fruitful domain of researches and the motor of the tremendous progress of communication engineering in the last decades. Its possible connections with semantics and linguistics are briefly considered. Its applications to biology are suggested especially as regards error-correcting codes which are mandatory for securing the conservation of genomes. Biology needs informationtheory so biologists and communication engineers should closely collaborate. (shrink)
Integrated InformationTheory (IIT) is one of the most influential theories of consciousness, mainly due to its claim of mathematically formalizing consciousness in a measurable way. However, the theory, as it is formulated, does not account for contextual observations that are crucial for understanding consciousness. Here we put forth three possible difficulties for its current version, which could be interpreted as a trilemma. Either consciousness is contextual or not. If contextual, either IIT needs revisions to its axioms (...) to include contextuality, or it is inconsistent. If consciousness is not contextual, then IIT faces an empirical challenge. Therefore, we argue that IIT in its current version is inadequate. (shrink)
In this paper, we examine the causal framework within which integrated informationtheory of consciousness makes it claims. We argue that, in its current formulation, IIT is threatened by the causal exclusion problem. Some proponents of IIT have attempted to thwart the causal exclusion problem by arguing that IIT has the resources to demonstrate genuine causal emergence at macro scales. In contrast, we argue that their proposed solution to the problem is damagingly circular as a result of inter-defining (...)information and causation. As a solution, we propose that IIT should adopt the specific interventionist causal framework that we offer and show how IIT can harness this interventionist framework to avoid the causal exclusion problem. We demonstrate how our argument remains fully compatible with the methodology, empirical data, and conceptual aims of the theory. (shrink)
William Dembski claims to have established a decision process to determine when highly unlikely events observed in the natural world are due to Intelligent Design. This article argues that, as no implementable randomness test is superior to a universal Martin-Löf test, this test should be used to replace Dembski's decision process. Furthermore, Dembski's decision process is flawed, as natural explanations are eliminated before chance. Dembski also introduces a fourth law of thermodynamics, his “law of conservation of information,” to argue (...) that information cannot increase by natural processes. However, this article, using algorithmic informationtheory, shows that this law is no more than the second law of thermodynamics. The article concludes that any discussions on the possibilities of design interventions in nature should be articulated in terms of the algorithmic informationtheory approach to randomness and its robust decision process. (shrink)
Since the beginning of the XX-th century, it became increasingly evident that information, besides matter and energy, is a major actor in the life processes. Moreover, communication of information has been recognized as differentiating living things from inanimate ones, hence as specific to the life processes. Therefore the sciences of matter and energy, chemistry and physics, do not suffice to deal with life processes. Biology should also rely on sciences of information. A majority of biologists, however, did (...) not change their mind and continued to describe life in terms of chemistry and physics. They merely borrowed some vocabulary from the information sciences. The first science of information available to biological applications, semiotics, appeared at the end of the XIX-th century. It is a qualitative and descriptive science which stemmed from efforts of linguists and philosophers to understand the human language and is thus mainly concerned with semantics. Applying semiotics to biology resulted in today’s Biosemiotics. Independently, an explosive expansion of communication engineering began in the second half of the XX-th century. Besides tremendous progresses in hardware technology, it was made possible by the onset of a science of literal communication: InformationTheory (Shannon, Bell Syst Tech J 27:379–457, 623–656, 1948). Literal communication consists of faithfully transporting a message from a place to another, or from an instant to another. Because the meaning of a message does not matter for its transportation, informationtheory ignores semantics. This restriction enables defining information as a measurable quantity on which a mathematical theory of communication is founded. Although lacking implementation means at its beginning, informationtheory became later very successful for designing communication means. Modern ones, like mobile phones, can be thought of as experimentally proving the relevance and accuracy of informationtheory since their design and operation heavily rely on it. Informationtheory is plainly relevant to biological functions which involve literal communication, especially heredity. This paper is intended to compare the two approaches. It shows that, besides obvious differences, they have some points in common: for instance, the quantitative measurement of information obeys Peirce’s triadic paradigm. They also can mutually enlighten each other. Using informationtheory, which is closer to the basic communication mechanisms, may appear as a preliminary step prior to more elaborated investigations. Criticizing genetics from outside, informationtheory furthermore reveals that the ability of the template-replication paradigm to faithfully conserve genomes is but a prejudice. Heredity actually demands error-correcting means which impose severe constraints to the living world and must be recognized as biological facts. (shrink)
In this paper we review the general framework of operational probabilistic theories, along with the six axioms from which quantum theory can be derived. We argue that the OPT framework along with a relaxed version of five of the axioms, define a general informationtheory. We close the paper with considerations about the role of the observer in an OPT, and the interpretation of the von Neumann postulate and the Schrödinger-cat paradox.
It is suggested that quantum mechanics is not fundamental but emerges from classical informationtheory applied to causal horizons. The path integral quantization and quantum randomness can be derived by considering information loss of fields or particles crossing Rindler horizons for accelerating observers. This implies that information is one of the fundamental roots of all physical phenomena. The connection between this theory and Verlinde’s entropic gravity theory is also investigated.
We compare the elementary theories of Shannon information and Kolmogorov complexity, the extent to which they have a common purpose, and wherethey are fundamentally different. We discuss and relate the basicnotions of both theories: Shannon entropy, Kolmogorov complexity, Shannon mutual informationand Kolmogorov (``algorithmic'') mutual information. We explainhow universal coding may be viewed as a middle ground betweenthe two theories. We consider Shannon's rate distortion theory, whichquantifies useful (in a certain sense) information.We use the communication of (...) class='Hi'>information as our guiding motif, and we explain howit relates to sequential question-answer sessions. (shrink)
Although algorithmic informationtheory provides a measure of the information content of string of characters, problems of noise and noncomputability emerge. However, if pattern in a noisy string is recognized by reference to a set of similar strings, this article shows that a compressed algorithmic description of a noisy string is possible and illustrates this with some simple examples. The article also shows that algorithmic informationtheory can quantify the information in complex organized systems (...) where pattern is nested within pattern. (shrink)
Intelligent design advocate William Dembski has introduced a measure of information called "complex specified information", or CSI. He claims that CSI is a reliable marker of design by intelligent agents. He puts forth a "Law of Conservation of Information" which states that chance and natural laws are incapable of generating CSI. In particular, CSI cannot be generated by evolutionary computation. Dembski asserts that CSI is present in intelligent causes and in the flagellum of Escherichia coli, and concludes (...) that neither have natural explanations. In this paper, we examine Dembski's claims, point out significant errors in his reasoning, and conclude that there is no reason to accept his assertions. (shrink)
This paper outlines a quantitative theory of strongly semantic information (TSSI) based on truth-values rather than probability distributions. The main hypothesis supported in the paper is that the classic quantitative theory of weakly semantic information (TWSI), based on probability distributions, assumes that truth-values supervene on factual semantic information, yet this principle is too weak and generates a well-known semantic paradox, whereas TSSI, according to which factual semantic information encapsulates truth, can avoid the paradox and (...) is more in line with the standard conception of what generally counts as semantic information. After a brief introduction, section two outlines the semantic paradox implied by TWSI, analysing it in terms of an initial conflict between two requisites of a quantitative theory of semantic information. In section three, three criteria of semantic information equivalence are used to provide a taxonomy of quantitative approaches to semantic information and introduce TSSI. In section four, some further desiderata that should be fulfilled by a quantitative TSSI are explained. From section five to section seven, TSSI is developed on the basis of a calculus of truth-values and semantic discrepancy with respect to a given situation. In section eight, it is shown how TSSI succeeds in solving the paradox. Section nine summarises the main results of the paper and indicates some future developments. (shrink)
The influence of degree of organization on the ability of Ss to recall lists of syllables immediately after learning was used as a measure in applying the concept of information to the problem of learning. More syllables were correctly recalled from a passage with a lower average rate of information than from a passage with a higher average information rate. The amount of information learned by the Ss was constant when the degree of organization was between (...) 2 and 1.5 bits per syllable. (shrink)
According to Fred Dretske's externalist theory of knowledge a subject knows that p if and only if she believes that p and this belief is caused or causally sustained by the information that p. Another famous feature of Dretske's epistemology is his denial that knowledge is closed under known entailment. I argue that, given Dretske's construal of information, he is in fact committed to the view that both information and knowledge are closed under known entailment. Hence, (...) if it is true that, as Dretske also believes, accepting closure leads to skepticism, he must either embrace skepticism or abandon his informationtheory of knowledge. (shrink)
The article addresses the problem of how semantic information can be upgraded to knowledge. The introductory section explains the technical terminology and the relevant background. Section 2 argues that, for semantic information to be upgraded to knowledge, it is necessary and sufficient to be embedded in a network of questions and answers that correctly accounts for it. Section 3 shows that an information flow network of type A fulfils such a requirement, by warranting that the erotetic deficit, (...) characterising the target semantic information t by default, is correctly satisfied by the information flow of correct answers provided by an informational source s. Section 4 illustrates some of the major advantages of such a Network Theory of Account (NTA) and clears the ground of a few potential difficulties. Section 5 clarifies why NTA and an informational analysis of knowledge, according to which knowledge is accounted semantic information, is not subject to Gettier-type counterexamples. A concluding section briefly summarises the results obtained. (shrink)
This article is concerned with the role of fundamental principles in theoretical physics, especially quantum theory. The fundamental principles of relativity will be addressed as well, in view of their role in quantum electrodynamics and quantum field theory, specifically Dirac’s work, which, in particular Dirac’s derivation of his relativistic equation of the electron from the principles of relativity and quantum theory, is the main focus of this article. I shall also consider Heisenberg’s earlier work leading him to (...) the discovery of quantum mechanics, which inspired Dirac’s work. I argue that Heisenberg’s and Dirac’s work was guided by their adherence to and their confidence in the fundamental principles of quantum theory. The final section of the article discusses the recent work by D’Ariano and coworkers on the principles of quantum informationtheory, which extend quantum theory and its principles in a new direction. This extension enabled them to offer a new derivation of Dirac’s equations from these principles alone, without using the principles of relativity. (shrink)
What does it feel like to be a bat? Is conscious experience of echolocation closer to that of vision or audition? Or do bats process echolocation nonconsciously, such that they do not feel anything about echolocation? This famous question of bats' experience, posed by a philosopher Thomas Nagel in 1974, clarifies the difficult nature of the mind–body problem. Why a particular sense, such as vision, has to feel like vision, but not like audition, is totally puzzling. This is especially so (...) given that any conscious experience is supported by neuronal activity. Activity of a single neuron appears fairly uniform across modalities and even similar to those for non-conscious processing. Without any explanation on why a particular sense has to feel the way it does, researchers cannot approach the question of the bats' experience. Is there any theory that gives us a hope for such explanation? Currently, probably none, except for one. Integrated informationtheory has potential to offer a plausible explanation. IIT essentially claims that any system that is composed of causally interacting mechanisms can have conscious experience. And precisely how the system feels is determined by the way the mechanisms influence each other in a holistic way. In this article, I will give a brief explanation of the essence of IIT. Further, I will briefly provide a potential scientific pathway to approach bats' conscious experience and its philosophical implications. If IIT, or its improved or related versions, is validated enough, the theory will gain credibility. When it matures enough, predictions from the theory, including nature of bats' experience, will have to be accepted. I argue that a seemingly impossible question about bats' consciousness will drive empirical and theoretical consciousness research to make big breakthroughs, in a similar way as an impossible question about the age of the universe has driven modern cosmology. (shrink)
We show that three fundamental information-theoretic constraints -- the impossibility of superluminal information transfer between two physical systems by performing measurements on one of them, the impossibility of broadcasting the information contained in an unknown physical state, and the impossibility of unconditionally secure bit commitment -- suffice to entail that the observables and state space of a physical theory are quantum-mechanical. We demonstrate the converse derivation in part, and consider the implications of alternative answers to a (...) remaining open question about nonlocality and bit commitment. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to explore the ways in which Axiomatic Reconstructions of Quantum Theory in terms of Information-Theoretic principles can contribute to explaining and understanding quantum phenomena, as well as to study their explanatory limitations. This is achieved in part by offering an account of the kind of explanation that axiomatic reconstructions of Quantum Theory provide, and re-evaluating the epistemic status of the program in light of this explanation. As illustrative case studies, I take (...) Clifton's, Bub's and Halvorson's characterization theorem and Popescu's and Rohrlich's toy models, and their explanatory contribution with respect to quantum nonlocality. On the one hand, I argue that ARQITs can aspire to provide genuine explanations of quantum nonlocality. On the other hand, I argue that such explanations cannot rule out a mechanical quantum theory. (shrink)
This paper will examine the implications of an extended “field theory of information,” suggested by Wolfhart Pannenberg, specifically in the Christian understanding of creation. The paper argues that the Holy Spirit created the world as field, a concept from physics, and the creation is directed by the logos utilizing information. Taking into account more recent developments of informationtheory, the essay further suggests that present creation has a causal impact upon the information utilized in (...) creation. In order to adequately address Pannenberg's hypothesis that the logos utilizes information at creation the essay will also include an introductory examination of Pannenberg's Christology which shifts from a strict “from below” Christology, to a more open “third way” of doing Christology beyond “above” and “below.” The essay concludes with a brief section relating the implications of an extended “field theory of information” to creative inspiration, as well as parallels with human inspiration. (shrink)
Research in psychology suggests that some individuals are more sensitive to positive than to negative information while others are more sensitive to negative rather than positive information. I take these cognitive positive–negative asymmetries in information processing to a Bayesian decision-theory model and explore its consequences in terms of decisions and payoffs. I show that in monotone decision problems economic agents with more positive-responsive information structures are always better off, ex ante, when they face problems where (...) payoffs are relatively more sensitive to the action chosen when the state of nature is favorable. (shrink)
Weak Quantum Theory (WQT) and the Model of Pragmatic Information (MPI) are two psychophysical concepts developed on the basis of quantum physics. The present study contributes to their empirical examination. The issue of the study is whether WQT and MPI can not only explain ‘psi’-phenomena theoretically but also prove to be consistent with the empirical phenomenology of extrasensory perception (ESP). From the main statements of both models, 33 deductions for psychic readings are derived. Psychic readings are defined as (...) settings, in which psychics support or counsel clients by using information not mediated through the five senses. A qualitative approach is chosen to explore how the psychics experience extrasensory perceptions. Eight psychics are interviewed with a half-structured method. The reports are examined regarding deductive and inductive aspects, using a multi-level structured content analysis. The vast majority of deductions is clearly confirmed by the reports. Even though the study has to be seen as an explorative attempt with many aspects to be specified, WQT and MPI prove to be coherent and helpful concepts to explain ESP in psychic readings. (shrink)
One major fault line in foundational theories of cognition is between the so-called “representational” and “non-representational” theories. Is it possible to formulate an intermediate approach for a foundational theory of cognition by defining a conception of representation that may bridge the fault line? Such an account of representation, as well as an account of correspondence semantics, is offered here. The account extends previously developed agent-based pragmatic theories of semantic information, where meaning of an information state is defined (...) by its interface role, to a theory that accommodates a notion of representation and correspondence semantics. It is argued that the account can be used to develop an intermediate approach to cognition, by showing that the major sources of tension between “representational” and “non-representational” theories may be eased. (shrink)
Information security can be of high moral value. It can equally be used for immoral purposes and have undesirable consequences. In this paper we suggest that critical theory can facilitate a better understanding of possible ethical issues and can provide support when finding ways of addressing them. The paper argues that critical theory has intrinsic links to ethics and that it is possible to identify concepts frequently used in critical theory to pinpoint ethical concerns. Using the (...) example of UK electronic medical records the paper demonstrates that a critical lens can highlight issues that traditional ethical theories tend to overlook. These are often linked to collective issues such as social and organisational structures, which philosophical ethics with its typical focus on the individual does not tend to emphasise. The paper suggests that this insight can help in developing ways of researching and innovating responsibly in the area of information security. (shrink)
We use the primitive ontology framework of Allori et al. to analyze the quantum information-theoretic interpretation of Bub and Pitowsky. There are interesting parallels between the two approaches, which differentiate them both from the more standard realist interpretations of quantum theory. Where they differ, however, is in terms of their commitments to an underlying ontology on which the manifest image of the world supervenes. Employing the primitive ontology framework in this way makes perspicuous the differences between the quantum (...)information-theoretic interpretation, and the various realist interpretations of quantum theory. It also allows us to identify a sense in which the commitments of quantum information-theoretic interpretation are underspecified. Several possible ways of completing the interpretation are presented, and it is suggested that the most likely strategy would leave the information-theoretic interpretation such that it would fail to qualify as a theory, according to the primitive ontology approach. (shrink)
Introduction into the structure, contents and specifications of the Information Coding Classification, developed in the seventies and used in many ways by the author and a few others following its publication in 1982. Its theoretical basis is explained consisting in the Integrative Level Theory, following an evolutionary approach of ontical areas, and integrating also on each level the aspects contained in the sequence of the levels, the distinction between categories of form and categories of being, the application of (...) a feature of Systems Theory and the inclusion of a concept theory, distinguishing four kinds of relationships, originated by the kinds of characteristics. Its special Subject Groups on each of its nine levels are outlined and the combinatory facilities at certain positions of the Systematifier are shown. Further elaboration and use have been suggested, be it only as a switching language between the six existing universal classification systems at present in use internationally. (shrink)
Christopher G. Timpson provides the first full-length philosophical treatment of quantum informationtheory and the questions it raises for our understanding of the quantum world. He argues for an ontologically deflationary account of the nature of quantum information, which is grounded in a revisionary analysis of the concepts of information.
The concept of “information” is virtually ubiquitous in contemporary cognitive science. It is claimed to be “processed” (in cognitivist theories of perception and comprehension), “stored” (in cognitivist theories of memory and recognition), and otherwise manipulated and transformed by the human central nervous system. Fred Dretske's extensive philosophical defense of a theory of informational content (“semantic” information) based upon the Shannon-Weaver formal theory of information is subjected to critical scrutiny. A major difficulty is identified in Dretske's (...) equivocations in the use of the concept of a “signal” bearing informational content. Gibson's alternative conception of information (construed as analog by Dretske), while avoiding many of the problems located in the conventional use of “signal”, raises different but equally serious questions. It is proposed that, taken literally, the human CNS does not extract or process information at all; rather, whatever “information” is construed as locatable in the CNS is information only for an observer-theorist and only for certain purposes. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss how informationtheory has been used in the study of animal communication, as well as how these uses are justified. Biologists justify their use of Shannon’s information measures by the work they do in allowing for comparisons between different organisms and because they measure a quantity that is purported to be important for natural selection. I argue that there are problems with both sorts of justification. To make these difficulties clear, I focus (...) on the use of Shannon’s information measures to quantify the amount of information transmitted by the fire ant’s odor trail and the honeybee’s waggle dance. Both of these systems are relatively simple and well understood, and the application of Shannon’s information measure to these systems initially seemed very promising and relatively straightforward. They are therefore particularly suitable for revealing the benefits and difficulties of applying Shannon’s information measures to biological systems in general, and animal communication systems in particular. (shrink)
Quantum informationtheory has given rise to a renewed interest in, and a new perspective on, the old issue of understanding the ways in which quantum mechanics differs from classical mechanics. The task of distinguishing between quantum and classical theory is facilitated by neutral frameworks that embrace both classical and quantum theory. In this paper, I discuss two approaches to this endeavour, the algebraic approach, and the convex set approach, with an eye to the strengths of (...) each, and the relations between the two. I end with a discussion of one particular model, the toy theory devised by Rob Spekkens, which, with minor modifications, fits neatly within the convex sets framework, and which displays in an elegant manner some of the similarities and differences between classical and quantum theories. The conclusion suggested by this investigation is that Schrödinger was right to find the essential difference between classical and quantum theory in their handling of composite systems, though Schrödinger's contention that it is entanglement that is the distinctive feature of quantum mechanics needs to be modified. (shrink)
A brief personal history is given about how informationtheory can be applied to binding sites of genetic control molecules on nucleic acids. The primary example used is ribosome binding sites in Escherichia coli. Once the sites are aligned, the information needed to describe the sites can be computed using Claude Shannon’s method. This is displayed by a computer graphic called a sequence logo. The logo represents an average binding site, and the mathematics easily allows one to (...) determine the components of this average. That is, given a set of binding sites, the information for individual binding sites can also be computed. One can go further and predict the information of sites that are not in the original data set. Informationtheory also allows one to model the flexibility of ribosome binding sites, and this led us to a simple model for ribosome translational initiation in which the molecular components fit together only when the ribosome is at a good ribosome binding site. Since informationtheory is general, the same mathematics applies to human splice junctions, where we can predict the effect of sequence changes that cause human genetic diseases and cancer. The second example given is the Pribnow “box,” which, when viewed by the informationtheory method, reveals a mechanism for initiation of both transcription and DNA replication. Replication, transcription, splicing, and translation into protein represent the central dogma, so these examples show how molecular informationtheory is contributing to our knowledge of basic biology. (shrink)
For largely historical reasons, information and communication technology in education has been heavily influenced by a form of constructivism based on the transmission and transformation of information. This approach has implications for both learning and teaching in the field. The assumptions underlying the approach are explored and a critique offered. Although the transmission approach is entrenched in procedures and pedagogies, it is increasingly challenged by an action-theoretical form of constructivism. In this 'ecology of ideas', the value of the (...) two theoretical stances might be judged in terms of their practical utility and the contributions they make to understanding ICT. (shrink)
Categorical logic has shown that modern logic is essentially the logic of subsets (or "subobjects"). Partitions are dual to subsets so there is a dual logic of partitions where a "distinction" [an ordered pair of distinct elements (u,u′) from the universe U ] is dual to an "element". An element being in a subset is analogous to a partition π on U making a distinction, i.e., if u and u′ were in different blocks of π. Subset logic leads to finite (...) probability theory by taking the (Laplacian) probability as the normalized size of each subset-event of a finite universe. The analogous step in the logic of partitions is to assign to a partition the number of distinctions made by a partition normalized by the total number of ordered pairs |U|² from the finite universe. That yields a notion of "logical entropy" for partitions and a "logical informationtheory." The logical theory directly counts the (normalized) number of distinctions in a partition while Shannon's theory gives the average number of binary partitions needed to make those same distinctions. Thus the logical theory is seen as providing a conceptual underpinning for Shannon's theory based on the logical notion of "distinctions.". (shrink)
Integrated InformationTheory of Consciousness Integrated InformationTheory offers an explanation for the nature and source of consciousness. Initially proposed by Giulio Tononi in 2004, it claims that consciousness is identical to a certain kind of information, the realization of which requires physical, not merely functional, integration, and which can be measured mathematically according … Continue reading Integrated InformationTheory of Consciousness →.
InformationTheory, Evolution and The Origin ofLife: The Origin and Evolution of Life as a Digital Message: How Life Resembles a Computer, Second Edition. Hu- bert P. Yockey, 2005, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 400 pages, index; hardcover, US $60.00; ISBN: 0-521-80293-8. The reason that there are principles of biology that cannot be derived from the laws of physics and chemistry lies simply in the fact that the genetic information content of the genome for constructing even the simplest (...) organisms is much larger than the information content of these laws. Yockey in his previous book (1992, 335) In this new book, InformationTheory, Evolution and The Origin ofLife, Hubert Yockey points out that the digital, segregated, and linear character of the genetic information system has a fundamental significance. If inheritance would blend and not segregate, Darwinian evolution would not occur. If inheritance would be analog, instead of digital, evolution would be also impossible, because it would be impossible to remove the effect of noise. In this way, life is guided by information, and so information is a central concept in molecular biology. The author presents a picture of how the main concepts of the genetic code were developed. He was able to show that despite Francis Crick's belief that the Central Dogma is only a hypothesis, the Central Dogma of Francis Crick is a mathematical consequence of the redundant nature of the genetic code. The redundancy arises from the fact that the DNA and mRNA alphabet is formed by triplets of 4 nucleotides, and so the number of letters (triplets) is 64, whereas the proteome alphabet has only 20 letters (20 amino acids), and so the translation from the larger alphabet to the smaller one is necessarily redundant. Except for Tryptohan and Methionine, all amino acids are coded by more than one triplet, therefore, it is undecidable which source code letter was actually sent from mRNA. This proof has a corollary telling that there are no such mathematical constraints for protein-protein communication. With this clarification, Yockey contributes to diminishing the widespread confusion related to such a central concept like the Central Dogma. Thus the Central Dogma prohibits the origin of life "proteins first." Proteins can not be generated by "self-organization." Understanding this property of the Central Dogma will have a serious impact on research on the origin of life. (shrink)
Recent suggestions to supply quantum mechanics (QM) with realistic foundations by reformulating it in light of quantum informationtheory (QIT) are examined and are found wanting by pointing to a basic conceptual problem that QIT itself ignores, namely, the measurement problem. Since one cannot ignore the measurement problem and at the same time pretend to be a realist, as they stand, the suggestions to reformulate QM in light of QIT are nothing but instrumentalism in disguise.
Quantum InformationTheory and the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics is a conceptual analysis of one of the most prominent and exciting new areas of physics, providing the first full-length philosophical treatment of quantum informationtheory and the questions it raises for our understanding of the quantum world. -/- Beginning from a careful, revisionary, analysis of the concepts of information in the everyday and classical information-theory settings, Christopher G. Timpson argues for an ontologically deflationary (...) account of the nature of quantum information. Against what many have supposed, quantum information can be clearly defined (it is not a primitive or vague notion) but it is not part of the material contents of the world. Timpson's account sheds light on the nature of nonlocality and information flow in the presence of entanglement and, in particular, dissolves puzzles surrounding the remarkable process of quantum teleportation. In addition it permits a clear view of what the ontological and methodological lessons provided by quantum informationtheory are; lessons which bear on the gripping question of what role a concept like information has to play in fundamental physics. Topics discussed include the slogan 'Information is Physical', the prospects for an informational immaterialism (the view that information rather than matter might fundamentally constitute the world), and the status of the Church-Turing hypothesis in light of quantum computation. -/- With a clear grasp of the concept of information in hand, Timpson turns his attention to the pressing question of whether advances in quantum informationtheory pave the way for the resolution of the traditional conceptual problems of quantum mechanics: the deep problems which loom over measurement, nonlocality and the general nature of quantum ontology. He marks out a number of common pitfalls to be avoided before analysing in detail some concrete proposals, including the radical quantum Bayesian programme of Caves, Fuchs, and Schack. One central moral which is drawn is that, for all the interest that the quantum information-inspired approaches hold, no cheap resolutions to the traditional problems of quantum mechanics are to be had. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is a modest one. I do not have any particular thesis to advance about the nature of entanglement, nor can I claim novelty for any of the material I shall discuss. My aim is simply to raise some questions about entanglement that spring naturally from certain developments in quantum informationtheory and are, I believe, worthy of serious consideration by philosophers of science. The main topics I discuss are different manifestations of quantum nonlocality, (...) entanglement-assisted communication, and entanglement thermodynamics. (shrink)