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Objective Information in the Empiricist View of von Weizsäcker

Abstract

We analyze von Weizsäcker’s view regarding the concept of information in physics. In his view, information arises from the reduction of properties of a physical object to their logical descriptive propositions. The smallest element of a lattice of propositions is an atom of information which is considered as the essence of every physical identity including position space. von Weizsäcker calls this element, “ur”. Moreover, Biological evolution is described in terms of enhancement of the variety of forms. Form could be also reduced to descriptive logical propositions, thus to atoms of information. Therefore, information is the fundamental basis in von Weizsäcker’s plan for unifying all branches of Physics including Chemistry and Biology. Yet, there are inadequacies in his lines of reasoning, critically assessed in this paper.

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Notes

  1. We will not use the adjective “empirical” before “science” throughout our work in this paper, for in von Weizsäcker’s view natural science is generally empirical.

  2. Parity (\(\widehat{\Pi }\)) is a Hermitian and unitary operator in quantum mechanics with two eigenvalues \(+1\) and \(-1\), corresponding to the evenness and oddness of an eigenfunction \(\psi _{i}(x,y,z)\,(i=1,2)\), respectively. In a mathematical description, \(\widehat{\Pi }\psi _{i}(x,y,z)=c_{i}\psi _{i}(x,y,z)\), where \(c_{1}=-c_{2}=1\). As is obvious, parity refers to the symmetry of the quantum state of a system under space inversion.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the two anonymous referees for their valuable comments on the subject of this paper.

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Correspondence to Afshin Shafiee.

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Khatam, I., Shafiee, A. Objective Information in the Empiricist View of von Weizsäcker. Found Sci 19, 241–255 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10699-013-9335-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10699-013-9335-x

Keywords

  • Pragmatic information
  • Weizacker empirisist view
  • “ur” theory
  • Biological evolution
  • Quantum symmetry