David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Acta Biotheoretica 53 (1) (2005)
The cybernetic definition of a living individual proposed previously (Korzeniewski, 2001) is very abstract and therefore describes the essence of life in a very formal and general way. In the present article this definition is reformulated in order to determine clearly the relation between life in general and a living individual in particular, and it is further explained and defended. Next, the cybernetic definition of a living individual is confronted with the real world. It is demonstrated that numerous restrictions imposed on the cybernetic definition of life by physical reality imply a number of particular properties of life that characterize present life on Earth, namely: (1) a living individual must be a dissipative structure (and therefore a low-entropy thermodynamic system out of the state of equilibrium); (2) spontaneously-originated life must be based on organic compounds; (3) evolutionarily stable self-dependent, free-living individuals must have some minimal level of complexity of structure and function; (4) a living individual must have a record of identity separated from an executive machinery; (5) the identity of living individuals must mutate and may evolve; (6) living individuals may collect and accumulate information in subsequent generations over very long periods of time; (7) the degree of complexity of a living individual reflects the degree of complexity of its environment (ecological niche) and (8) living individuals are capable of supple adaptation to varying environmental conditions. Thus, the cybernetic definition of a living individual, when confronted with the real physical world, generates most of the general properties of the present life on Earth.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Gerard A. J. M. Jagers op Akkerhuis (2010). Towards a Hierarchical Definition of Life, the Organism, and Death. Foundations of Science 15 (3):245-262.
Similar books and articles
Fred Ablondi (1998). Automata, Living and Non-Living: Descartes' Mechanical Biology and His Criteria for Life. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 13 (2):179-186.
Christophe Malaterre (2010). Lifeness Signatures and the Roots of the Tree of Life. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):643-658.
Brooke Alan Trisel (2007). Judging Life and Its Value. Sorites (18):60-75.
Boris Hennig (2007). Der fortbestand Von lebewesen. Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie 32 (1):81-91.
Jorge Wagensberg (2000). Complexity Versus Uncertainty: The Question of Staying Alive. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 15 (4):493-508.
Stevan Harnad (1993). Artificial Life: Synthetic Versus Virtual. Philosophical Explorations.
Michael Thompson (2008). Life and Action: Elementary Structures of Practice and Practical Thought. Harvard University Press.
Thaddeus Metz (2013). Das Sinnvolle Und Das Lebenswerte: Zur Klärung Ihrer Gemeinsamkeiten Und Unterschiede. In Matthias Hoesch, Sebastian Muders & Markus Rüther (eds.), Glück-Werte-Sinn. Walter de Gruyter. 109-25.
Abel Schejter & Joseph Agassi (1994). On the Definition of Life. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 25 (1):97 - 106.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads10 ( #146,130 of 1,101,142 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #290,630 of 1,101,142 )
How can I increase my downloads?