Questions in Information Theory IV: Philosophy of Science

Friday, November 12th, 2010 | Author:

See also: Questions part I - Information and Entropy
Questions part II - Complexity and Algorithmic Complexity
Questions part III - Statistical Physics, Quantum Physics and Thermodynamics

Questions part IV - Philosophy of Science [Pop34] [Kuh62] [Fey75] [Mil09]

  1. Does the point of view of information theory provide anything new in the sciences? [GM94]
    Does information theory provide a new paradigm in the sciences? [Sei07]
  2. Is quantum information the key to unify general relativity and quantum theory?
    Is information theory a guiding principle for a “theory of everything”?

    “I think there is a need for something completely new. Something that is too different, too unexpected, to be accepted as yet.” – Anton Zeilinger, 2004

  3. (Why) are real discoveries possible in mathematics and other structural/formal sciences? [Bor07]
  4. Can we create or measure truly random numbers in nature?
    How would we recognize random numbers?
    What is a random number (or a random string of digits)?

    “Any one who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin. For, as has been pointed out several times, there is no such thing as a random number — there are only methods to produce random numbers, and a strict arithmetic procedure of course is not such a method.” – John von
    Neumann, 1951

  5. What is semantic information, what is meaning in science?
    What do we expect from an “explanation”?

    “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.” – Lăozı, 4th century B.C.

  6. How do the concepts “truth” and “laws of nature” fit together? [Dav01] [Car94]
  7. Does is make sense to use linguistic terminology in natural sciences? [Gad75]
  8. Should physicists try to interpret quantum physics at all? [Dir42]
  9. Would it make sense to adapt the notion of real numbers to a limited amount of memory?
    Can we build a theory of physics upon intuitionist logics?


  • [Bor07] Borovik, Mathematics under the microscope, 2007.
  • [Car94] J.W. Carroll, Laws of nature, Cambridge Univ Pr, 1994.
  • [Dav01] D. Davidson, Inquiries into truth and interpretation, Oxford University Press, USA, 2001.
  • [Dir42] PAM Dirac, Bakerian lecture. the physical interpretation of quantum mechanics, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences 180 (1942), no. 980, 1–40.
  • [Fey75] Paul Feyerabend, Against method, 1975.
  • [Gad75] H.G. Gadamer, Truth and method (g. barden & j. cumming, trans.), 1975.
  • [GM94] M. Gell-Mann, The quark and the jaguar, Freeman New York, 1994.
  • [Kuh62] Thomas Kuhn, The structure of scientific revolutions, 1962.
  • [Mil09] David Miller, Hard questions for critical rationalism, 2009.
  • [Pop34] Karl Popper, The logic of scientific discovery, 1934.
  • [Sei07] C. Seife, Decoding the universe: how the new science of information is explaining everything in the cosmos, from our brains to black holes, Penguin Group USA, 2007.


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