Life and Quantum Biology, an Interdisciplinary Approach

Acta Philosophica 24 (1):69-86 (2015)
Authors
Alfred Driessen
University of Twente
Abstract
The rapidly increasing interest in the quantum properties of living matter stimulates a discussion of the fundamental properties of life as well as quantum mechanics. In this discussion often concepts are used that originate in philosophy and ask for a philosophical analysis. In the present work the classic philosophical tradition based on Aristotle and Aquinas is employed which surprisingly is able to shed light on important aspects. Especially one could mention the high degree of unity in living objects and the occurrence of thorough qualitative changes. The latter are outside the scope of classical physics where changes are restricted to geometrical rearrangement of microscopic particles. A challenging approach is used in the philosophical analysis as the empirical evidence is not taken from everyday life but from 20th century science (quantum mechanics) and recent results in the field of quantum biology. In the discussion it is argued that quantum entanglement is possibly related to the occurrence of life. Finally it is recommended that scientists and philosophers should be open for dialogue that could enrich both. Scientists could redirect their investigation, as paradigm shifts like the one originating from philosophical evaluation of quantum mechanics give new insight about the relation between the whole en the parts. Whereas philosophers could use scientific results as a consistency check for their philosophical framework for understanding reality.
Keywords biology  physics  quantum mechanics  philosophy of science  quantum biology  Aristotle
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