David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):687-701 (2009)
What is artificial life? Much has been said about this interesting collection of efforts to artificially simulate and synthesize lifelike behavior and processes, yet we are far from having a robust philosophical understanding of just what Alifers are doing and why it ought to interest philosophers of science, and philosophers of biology in particular. In this paper, I first provide three introductory examples from the particular subset of artificial life I focus on, known as ‘soft Alife’ (s-Alife), and follow up with a more in-depth review of the Avida program, which serves as my case study of s-Alife. Next, I review three well-known accounts of thought experiments, and then offer my own synthesized account, to make the argument that s-Alife functions as thought experimentation in biology. I draw a comparison between the methodology of the thought-experimental world that yields real-world results, and the s-Alife research that informs our understanding of natural life. I conclude that the insights provided by s-Alife research have the potential to fundamentally alter our understanding of the nature of organic life and thus deserve the attention of both philosophers and natural scientists.
|Keywords||Philosophy Evolutionary Biology Philosophy of Biology|
|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
Henri Bergson (2007). Creative Evolution. Palgrave Macmillan.
David Zaret (1977). The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 90 (1):146-149.
Eric Winsberg (2003). Simulated Experiments: Methodology for a Virtual World. Philosophy of Science 70 (1):105-125.
Roy A. Sorensen (1992). Thought Experiments. Oxford University Press.
James Robert Brown (1991). The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences. Routledge.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Margaret A. Boden (ed.) (1996). The Philosophy of Artificial Life. Oxford University Press.
Norman H. Packard & Mark A. Bedau (2003). Artificial Life. In L. Nadel (ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Nature Publishing Group 505-512.
John P. Sullins (2005). Ethics and Artificial Life: From Modeling to Moral Agents. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 7 (3):139-148.
Alexander Riegler (1992). Constructivist Artificial Life, and Beyond. In Barry McMullin (ed.), Proceedings of the Workshop on Autopoiesis and Perception. Dublin City University: Dublin, Pp. 121–136.
Mark Bedau, To Appear in Luciano Floridi, Ed., Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Computing and Information.
Eric T. Olson (1997). The Ontological Basis of Strong Artificial Life. Artificial Life 3:29-39.
Edouard Machery (2012). Why I Stopped Worrying About the Definition of Life... And Why You Should as Well. Synthese 185 (1):145-164.
Brian L. Keeley (1998). Artificial Life for Philosophers. Philosophical Psychology 11 (2):251 – 260.
Added to index2009-02-23
Total downloads50 ( #82,273 of 1,792,140 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #464,595 of 1,792,140 )
How can I increase my downloads?