Questions in Information Theory V: Life and Metaphysics

Saturday, November 27th, 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

Questions part V - Life and Metaphysics [Sch68]

  1. Is nature deterministic?
  2. Can causality be defined without reference to time? [BLMS87] [Sua01]
  3. How is it possible that semantic information emerges from purely syntactic information? [BLHL+ 01]
  4. Is there an inherent tendency in evolution to accumulate relevant information on the real world?
    Is there an inherent tendency in evolution to increase the complexity of organisms and the biosphere as a whole?

    “Humanity is now experiencing history’s most difficult evolutionary transformation.” – Buckminster Fuller, 1983

  5. Why are robustness and simplicity good and applicable criteria to describe nature (with causal networks)? [Jen03]
  6. Should we re-define “life”, using information-theoretic terms?
  7. What do Gödel’s theorems imply for information and complexity theory? [Cha82]
    Is there an analogy between emergence and true but unprovable statements? [Bin08]
  8. Are there limits of self-prediction in individuals and societies?

    “The human brain is incapable of creating anything which is really complex.” – Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov 1990

  9. What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?

    “There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another which states that this has already happened.” – Douglas Adams, 1980


  • [Bin08] P.M. Binder, Theories of almost everything, Nature 455 (2008), 884–885.
  • [BLHL+ 01] T. Berners-Lee, J. Hendler, O. Lassila, et al., The semantic web, Scientific american 284 (2001), no. 5, 28–37.
  • [BLMS87] Bombelli, Lee, Meyer, and Sorkin, space-time as a causal set, Physical Review Letters 59 (1987).
  • [Cha82] Gregory J. Chaitin, Gödel’s theorem and information, International Journal of Theoretical Physics 21 (1982), 941–954, 10.1007/BF02084159.
  • [Jen03] Erica Jen, Essays & commentaries: stable or robust? what’s the difference?, Complex. 8 (2003), no. 3, 12–18.
  • [Sch68] E. Schrödinger, What is life?, Cambridge University Press Cambridge, 1968.
  • [Sua01] A. Suarez, Is there a real time ordering behind the nonlocal correlations?, 2001.

Category: English, Questions in Information Theory

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