Definitions of Life are not Only Unnecessary, but they can do Harm to Understanding
In my response to the paper by Jagers op Akkerhuis, I object against giving definitions of life, since they bias anything that follows. As we don’t know how life originated, authors characterise life using criteria derived from present-day properties, thus emphasising widely different ones, which gives bias to their further analysis. This makes their results dependent on their initial suppositions, which introduces circularity in their reasoning.
KeywordsDefinitions of life Methodological difficulties
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- Jagers op Akkerhuis, G. A. J. M. (2010a). Towards a hierarchical definition of life, the organism, and death. Foundations of Science 15, no. 3 (6), 245–262. doi:10.1007/s10699-010-9177-8. arXiv:0912.5508v2.
- Jagers op Akkerhuis, G. A. J. M. (2010b). Explaining the origin of life is not enough for a definition of life. Foundations of Science. doi:10.1007/s10699-010-9209-4. arXiv:0912.5508v2
- van Straalen, N. (2010). The issue of “closure” in Jagers op Akkerhuis’s operator theory. Foundations of Science. doi:10.1007/s10699-010-9207-6. arXiv:0912.5508v2