X-Message-Number: 8311
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 19:29:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: physical information?

Peter Merel (#8300) says:

>To we [us] folk who regard information as a physical property, Bob's
position [?]
>looks irrational, but to folk who regard identity as a physical property,
>the info position looks irrational. Interesting, ain't it? Maybe we should 
>investigate the ascription of physicality a little more, rather than 
>keep wasting bits on slanging ...

This mystifies me somwewhat. First, I'm not sure what position of mine he
means. Certainly I don't regard the info position as irrational--merely
unproven, just a moderately plausible speculation, its main strength being
the weakness of the opposition.

As for information being a "physical property," again this puzzles me.
Certainly information must be represented or transmitted by something
physical, but the information itself--a number for example, or a
relationship--is abstract. 

Also, he seems to be saying that he regards information as physical, but
identity as not physical. But since he seems to imply that he regards
information as defining identity, we then seem to have (a) identity is not
physical, but rather (b) it resides in information, yet (c) information is
physical. If identity is determined by information, and information is
physical, why isn't identity physical?  

(Of course I prefer to avoid the term "identity" and talk instead about
criteria of survival.)

Robert Ettinger

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