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On what it is to fly can tell us something about what it is to live

Malaterre, Christophe (2010) On what it is to fly can tell us something about what it is to live. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    The plurality of definitions of life is often perceived as an unsatisfying situation stemming from still incomplete knowledge about ‘what it is to live’ as well as from the existence of a variety of methods for reaching a definition. For many, such plurality is to be remedied and the search for a unique and fully satisfactory definition of life pursued. In this contribution on the contrary, it is argued that the existence of such a variety of definitions of life undermines the very feasibility of ever reaching a unique unambiguous definition. It is argued that focusing on the definitions of specific types of ‘living systems’ – somehow in the same way that one can define specific types of ‘flying systems’ – could be more fruitful from a heuristic point of view than looking for ‘the’ right definition of life, and probably more accurate in terms of carving Nature at its joints.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: Final version published in Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres April 2010, 40(2): 169-177 http://www.springerlink.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&id=doi:10.1007/s11084-010-9196-z
    Keywords: Definition of life, Living systems, Protocells, No-living matter, Living matter, Origin of life, Pluralism
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
    Depositing User: Christophe Malaterre
    Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2010
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:19
    Item ID: 5412
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/5412

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