Synthese 185 (1):73-88 (2012)

Mark Bedau
Reed College
This paper describes and defends the view that minimal chemical life essentially involves the chemical integration of three chemical functionalities: containment, metabolism, and program (Rasmussen et al. in Protocells: bridging nonliving and living matter, 2009a ). This view is illustrated and explained with the help of CMP and Rasmussen diagrams (Rasmussen et al. In: Rasmussen et al. (eds.) in Protocells: bridging nonliving and living matter, 71–100, 2009b ), both of which represent the key chemical functional dependencies among containment, metabolism, and program. The CMP model of minimal chemical life gains some support from the broad view of life as open-ended evolution, which I have defended elsewhere (Bedau in The philosophy of artificial life, 1996 ; Bedau in Artificial Life, 4:125–140, 1998 ). Further support comes from the natural way the CMP model resolves the puzzle about whether life is a matter of degree.
Keywords Life  Container  Metabolism  Program  Open-ended evolution  Degrees of life
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-011-9876-x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,920
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

This Is Biology: The Science of the Living World.Ernst Mayr & Edward O. Wilson - 1999 - Journal of the History of Biology 32 (2):385-394.
The Nature of Life.Mark A. Bedau - 1996 - In Margaret A. Boden (ed.), The Philosophy of Artificial Life. Oxford University Press. pp. 332--357.
Understanding Life: Recent Work in Philosophy of Biology.Kim Sterelny - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (2):155-183.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

What Could Arsenic Bacteria Teach Us About Life?Emily C. Parke - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):205-218.
Proper Activity, Preference, and the Meaning of Life.Lucas J. Mix - 2014 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 6 (20150505).
Cybernetic analys of the phenomenon of life.Bielecki Andrzej - 2016 - Philosophical Problems in Science 61:133-164.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
68 ( #153,299 of 2,439,279 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #434,168 of 2,439,279 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes