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Philosophy Club: Huenemann on philosophy & information

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Old Main, USU


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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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Philosophy Club Guardian Justin Solum bids me to advertize that I will be offering a short talk on the topic of philosophy and information this Wednesday, September 26th, at 5 p.m., in Main 227. This will be a presentation in preparation for a similar talk I plan to give later on, at the Intermountain Philosophy Conference. The abstract for that talk is as follows:

“It from Bit” – philosophical reflections

In this presentation I will reflect on a fascinating intersection of physics, information theory, and philosophy. Some physicists (beginning with Zuse 1967; more famously Wheeler 1990) have asserted that the ultimate substance in the universe is not matter, mind, or energy, but information: all of “it” is built from “bits.” Even earlier, the founder of modern-day information theory, Claude Shannon, employed the physical concept of entropy in order to sort information from noise in code strings. The proposed intersection of these fields is captured neatly in a provocative slogan: “Information theory is the thermodynamics of code strings, and thermodynamics is the information theory of particles in space” (Adriaans & van Benthem 2008). My presentation will not contain anything distinctively new or critical on the topic; this talk is more of an exploration for me, and so my aim is to be able to provide a competent and interesting overview of the topic, while pointing out possible philosophical consequences.



Anyone is welcome.


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