Foundations of Science

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 217-238

First online:

A Framework Linking Non-Living and Living Systems: Classification of Persistence, Survival and Evolution Transitions

  • L. DennisAffiliated withCentreSA GmbH
  • , R. W. GrayAffiliated withBiophan Technologies
  • , L. H. KauffmanAffiliated withDepartment of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • , J. Brender McNairAffiliated withInstitute of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University
  • , N. J. WoolfAffiliated withAstronomy Department, University of Arizona Email author 

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We propose a framework for analyzing the development, operation and failure to survive of all things, living, non-living or organized groupings. This framework is a sequence of developments that improve survival capability. Framework processes range from origination of any entity/system, to the development of increased survival capability and development of life-forms and organizations that use intelligence. This work deals with a series of developmental changes that arise from the uncovering of emergent properties. The framework is intended to be general, but we see a potential to apply it to scientific topics such as the exploration of the origin of life or the search for life beyond Earth, and to understand some biological issues in evolution and symbiosis, and also to apply to social systems that do not seem to be operating well, to determine their problems and correct them.


Emergent properties Life-like systems Living systems Survival Thriving