Life, "artificial life," and scientific explanation

Philosophy of Science 63 (2):225-244 (1996)
Recently, biologists and computer scientists who advocate the "strong thesis of artificial life" have argued that the distinction between life and nonlife is important and that certain computer software entities could be alive in the same sense as biological entities. These arguments have been challenged by Sober (1991). I address some of the questions about the rational reconstruction of biology that are suggested by these arguments: What is the relation between life and the "signs of life"? What work (if any) might the concept of "life" (over and above the "signs of life") perform in biology? What turns on scientific disputes over the utility of this concept? To defend my answers to these questions, I compare "life" to certain other concepts used in science, and I examine historical episodes in which an entity's vitality was invoked to explain certain phenomena. I try to understand how these explanations could be illuminating even though they are not accompanied by any reductive definition of "life."
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,997
External links
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
Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

38 ( #53,010 of 1,410,065 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #75,884 of 1,410,065 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.