I propose that there is no reason to assume that the information reaching us refers to physical material. Information , controlled by laws, is enough to explain everything. :banana-dance:

Define “laws”.

If you are referring to concrete, immutable ‘facts’ (ex. laws of nature or laws of science), such does not exist.

If you are speaking about regulatory laws (ex. laws of society), who is formulating and “controlling” them?

Where do you propose information comes from, if not from object experience or observation? Speculation can only take you so far without some kind of evidence, or proof.

Also, is the source of information the same as the “controller” dictating your laws?

Laws like, I can’t fly by flapping my arms, or , I can’t run at 200 miles an hour. Those sorts of laws, the sort of laws that can be broken in dreams.

I’m not saying anything about where the information comes from, just trying to understand why people automatically (in most cases) believe reality has to be made of physical stuff, as opposed to just being pure information.

If all you want is information, you’re all set.

You do have to live, though.

Information is about something. It’s not just about other information.

What is information without a source or a subject?

Certainly not “information” as we define it.

In order to live I have to obey certain rules.This does not imply physical material is necessary.

Information is about true facts, false “facts”, and partly true “facts”.Facts don’t imply the existence of physical material.

A materialist believes material is the “source”, I’m saying facts are the source of information, facts (truths etc) are things-in-themselves. “Material reality” serves no purpose as an idea, apart from a political one.

Chester - “material reality” is a matter of definition. There is no metaphysics without it. To completely deny matter does not serve metaphysics, it renders metaphysics even more unintelligible than it otherwise would be.

I agree that everything can be reduced to information, but I don’t think it is separable from material objects. Material objects are information, not a substitute for it.

“Matter” is just one limited idea , it serves no purpose other than to say there is an external reality (something beyond me).We can do the same with facts, plus we are not taking ourselves into the whole causation cul-de-sac, because facts correlate with each other, rather than necessarily cause each other.

When you dream is the information necessarily referential to material reality?

In the context of the dream, the information is material.

Well it looks like you have a premise, now you just need a logical argument. I can postulate that information is given to us by ghosts, but that doesn’t make it true, logical, or practical in any way.

In order for facts to exist they must begin as speculation. “Facts” are not some intangible entities lying in wait for man to come scoop them up; they must correspond to something. Facts must pertain to something both existent and real. Otherwise they hold about as much value as a simple product of the imagination. Your logic here seems flawed in so many ways, I don’t even know where to begin breaking it down (as if you wouldn’t continue the argument anyway, even if for no other reason than to avoid admitting a mistake).

I’ll throw a couple simple ideas at you, just for the sake of my own curiosity in how you’ll respond–

For one, saying “facts are the source of information” is like saying “wood is the source of trees”. You are mistaking an ingredient for a “source” – facts don’t birth information, they are interpretations of seemingly universal/absolute information. By definition, “factual data” = information. The use of the term “data” in this context holds an implication “facts” consist of something.

Second, the characterization of “fact” as a thing-in-itself implies that there are more to facts than what we perceive. How can that be the case if facts are a product of perception? “Facts” do not exist independent from perception, much like the idea of “certainty” – we define those terms; we deem what is “factual” or what is to be considered “data”. Natural tendencies or some seemingly logical order may exist independently from human perception, but ideas like “facts” and “data” do not. These are descriptive terms to capture the value and communication of some respective information. To be a thing-in-itself, a fact would have some transcendental nature, or essence, that goes beyond simple perception of its properties. Realistically, one would eventually come to a realization that “fact” cannot have some transcendental nature because we invent them – how can we create something that we, ourselves, cannot conceptualize or perceive?

Lastly (for now), postulating that “fact” is the source of information, and can be defined as a thing-in-itself, is to regard “fact” as some kind of ‘absolute’. In this case, you’ve got an ‘absolute’ acting solely as a source (meaning it exists without ever having been created), and all things being products of it (the flow of factual information). The problem here, then, is that nothing can act as evidence for “facts”. You can justify how anything is evidence of fact, much like one could justify anything as evidence of God – that is to say, you can speculate what “facts” produce but can’t claim to know how/when/where/why. Therefore, your contention regarding “facts” and information would imply that facts cannot be tested or scientifically proven.

The primary conflict in your logic being that “facts” are continually tested and primarily proven through science. There is no bigger picture to a “fact” than its premise and the value we give it as an approximation to certainty.

A great example is Newton, one of the most important scientific minds in history. He came up with so many practically applicable, observable, and provable theories that many of them became scientific law and were incorporated into cultures and belief systems everywhere. People regarded his findings as “fact”, and for all practical purposes Newton’s theories were “facts” and had a profound effect on humanity’s perception of certain information. However, when Einstein came along with his theories (particularly of Relativity), he turned many of those previously regarded “facts” on their heads. He changed people’s perceptions and beliefs regarding what was already considered “factual data”. This example goes to show that–

  1. Facts are inventions of the human mind, and therefore limited by human capability.
  2. Facts are not things-in-themselves as they do not consist of any more than the properties and values we attribute to them.
  3. Facts, and information, must have a source and pertain to a subject.
  4. Facts are not absolute.
  5. Information in general is of a material source.

How about reference, relationships, information, communication, transportation, advancement, understanding, and grounds for scientific evaluation/testing - just to name a few functional purposes of the idea of “material reality”.

Absolutely. More specifically, dreams are almost entirely referential to experiences in material reality. Look up some of Freud’s work on Wiki or something.


Yes , but I asked is it referential to material reality.Obviously I usually dream about material things I know from “material reality”, like cars and trees, but those things need not obey the rules that exist outside of my head.In other words there are no hard and fast rules in a dream, unlike outside reality.So that means that in a dream information is separable from objects, they need not have reliable laws governing them.

stat, I’ll be honest , I hate long posts because I have limited time, however here goes…

Facts can have a reality without need to attach them to concrete objects.I know that computer programs require hardware but you can imagine the rules of a game existing as a computer program, where the things referred to only exist as facts.None of this implies that we shouldn’t engage in science, it merely says that the stuff of existence need not exist in the way we tend to think it does.But truth and reality are still out there.

What makes a fact real is it’s truthfulness, what makes something truthful is it’s adherence to the “program”.I guess it implies we are a program within the program, but we are one that self-programs to a degree.Because we are separate from the main program (external reality) we can be wrong.That implies that facts can exist outside of our perception…I certainly think they do, it also implies that some of our facts are actually “facts” and therefore not absolute.Facts are absolute though.

Oh , I nearly forgot, I don’t have to explain the source of the program any more than you have to explain the source of physical material. :sunglasses:

It depends on what information we’re talking about. If it’s just the sensory (or visualized) information, it doesn’t refer at all. It just is the material objects it presents itself as. Thought, on the other hand, does refer, and in the case of dreams, it refers to the sensory (or visualized) objects before you. These things really are material insofar as that is how they are experienced.

I don’t see how this follows. That the objects in our dreams don’t consistently obey the standard laws of our waking reality doesn’t mean that the information that constitutes them is separable from them. What they are (i.e. the content of the information, the character of the experience) is different from what they are prone to do.


You almost completely lost me with that metaphor. I don’t know if it was the phrasing or the logic but, beyond the first sentence or so, I just could not follow your reasoning. I did manage to pick up on bits (…I think), so I’ll respond to some of the few pieces I was able to make sense of.

Your logic is flawed here because the rules of a game, or computer program, are models based off of logic obtained through experience, observation, and experimentation of the physical, perceivable world – that is, from a human perception of reality. The “facts” existing in a game or program are human conceptions of models/formulas/logic existing in nature.

To say, for example, that mathematics exist as “fact” without correspondence to reality is only true in theory. Would we even have mathematics, or a need for it, without a physical reality?

Since when is “adherence” the sole characteristic of “truth”? Again, I may be lost in the metaphor, but I think the above could be better phrased as such–

“What makes a fact truthful is it’s correspondence to reality. What makes something factual is it’s practicality of usage within the ‘program’.”

Of course, there are some inherent problems with mixing the terms “fact” and “truth” as if independent concepts. I suppose that is another debate altogether though…


Ok,gib and stat, I’ll try to make it simpler.

You are saying that information has to refer (ultimately) to material objects in order to be true/real. I am saying that information can simply refer to laws/rules in order to be true/real, that the underlying substance isn’t physical material, it is thought.

"Experience, observation, and experimentation " within the world of facts are still entirely relevant, because everything still exists (is perceivable), it just exists differently, but is still as real, and what we are trying to discover is the laws that govern facts.

A “fact” is what someone mistakes for a fact, but I guess many of our facts are actually a mix of facts and “facts”.Facts are absolute truths, “facts” are incorrect to some degree.

First of all, I’m not entirely convinced that information necessarily refers at all (it obviously does in some cases, but not necessarily all cases). But assuming that it does, how does the statement “icecream tastes good” refer to a law or rule? Is it that icecream follows the rule of tasting good?

EDIT: I just started a thread on the question of whether information necessarily always refers here.

“ice cream tastes good” is an opinion rather than a fact.I guess , because most people may well agree , it is a “fact” with really big inverted commas.