Life as an abstract phenomenon: Is artificial life possible?

Is life a property of the material structure of a living system or an abstract form of organization that can be realized in other media; artificial as well as natural? One version of the Artificial Life research programme presumes, that one can separate the logical form of an organism from its material basis of construction, and that its capacity to live and reproduce is a property of the form, not the matter (Langton 1989). This seems to oppose the notion of a cell within contemporary molecular biology, according to which "form" and "matter" do not represent separate realms. The information in a living cell is intimately bound to the properties of the material substrate. This condition may represent a restriction on the validity of formal theories of life.
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