Are black holes about information?

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Wuthrich, Christian
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Information theory is increasingly invoked by physicists concerned with fundamental physics, including black hole physics. But to what extent is the application of information theory in those contexts legitimate? Using the case of black hole thermodynamics and Bekenstein's celebrated argument for the entropy of black holes, I will argue that information-theoretic notions are problematic in the present case. Bekenstein's original argument, as suggestive as it may appear, thus fails. This example is particularly pertinent to the theme of the present collection because the Bekenstein-Hawking formula for black hole entropy is widely accepted as 'empirical data' in notoriously empirically deprived quantum gravity, even though the laws of black hole thermodynamics have so far evaded empirical confirmation.