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

Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres 40 (2):169-177 (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX


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.

Similar books and articles

Life and perceptual intentionality.Renaud Barbaras - 2003 - Research in Phenomenology 33 (1):157-166.
There is no adequate definition of ?Fine-tuned for life?Neil A. Manson - 2000 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 43 (3):341 – 351.
On the definition of life.Abel Schejter & Joseph Agassi - 1994 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 25 (1):97 - 106.
Life without definitions.Carol E. Cleland - 2012 - Synthese 185 (1):125-144.


Added to PP

356 (#49,889)

6 months
28 (#93,479)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Christophe Malaterre
Université Du Québec À Montréal (UQAM)

References found in this work

Chance and necessity.Jacques Monod - 1971 - New York,: Vintage Books.
The Principles of Life.Tibor Ganti - 2003 - Oxford University Press UK.
Introduction to logic.Romane Clark - 1962 - Princeton, N.J.,: Van Nostrand. Edited by Paul Welsh.

View all 7 references / Add more references