Since modernity, the concept of subject supposes both an anthropocentric and a dualistic view of life and reality. In this study, we carry out an analytic interpretation of the Descartes’ notion of subject, in order to build a different dimension of the concept of subject. We discuss the activity of computing, as the manner by which the living subject relates with and in-forms the world. We further examine computing in the aging yeast as an example of living subject and we try to comprehend the maturity of the subjectivity in Descartes’ res cogitans and in our proposed res computans.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Ablondi F (1998) Automata, living and non-living: descartes’ mechanical biology and his criteria for life. Biol Philos 13:179–186
Adami C (2002) What is complexity? Bioessays 24(12):1085–1094
Baillet A (1693) The life of monsieur descartes. Translated by S. R., London
Bitterman KJ, Medvedik O, Sinclair DA (2003) Longevity regulation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: linking metabolism, genome stability, and heterochromatin. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 67(3):376–399
Bonawitz ND, Rodeheffer MS, Shadel GS (2006) Defective mitochondrial gene expression results in reactive oxygen species-mediated inhibition of respiration and reduction of yeast life span. Mol Cell Biol 26(13):4818–4829
Castoriadis C (1989) The state of the subject today. Thesis Eleven 24:5–43
Descartes R (1899/1637) Discourse on the method of rightly conducting the reason, and seeking truth in the sciences, translated by John Veitch. Open Court Publishing Company, La Salle
Descartes R (1910/1630) Tome I: Correspondance, avril 1622-février 1638. In: Charles Adam et Paul Tannery (eds) Oeuvres complètes, 11 vols, París, Vrin-CNRS
Descartes R (1913/1641–1644) The meditations on first philosophy and the principles of philosophy, translated by John Veitch. Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago
Descartes R (1934/1641) Objections and Replies, In The Philosophical Works Of Descartes, Vol. II, translated by Elizabeth Haldane. Cambridge University Press, London
Favre C, Aguilar PS, Carrillo MC (2008) Oxidative stress and chronological aging in glycogen-phosphorylase-deleted yeast. Free Radic Biol Med 45(10):1446–1456
Fontana L, Partridge L, Longo VD (2010) Extending healthy life span-From yeast to humans. Science 328(5976):321–326
Gonidakis S, Finkel SE, Longo VD (2010) Genome-wide screen identifies Escherichia coli TCA-cycle-related mutants with extended chronological lifespan dependent on acetate metabolism and the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor ArcA. Aging Cell 9(5):868–881
Guarente L (2008) Mitochondria-A nexus for aging, calorie restriction, and sirtuins? Cell 132(2):171–176
Gutiérrez C, Jaramillo S, Soto-Andrade J (2011) Some thoughts on A. H. Louie’s “more than life itself: a reflection on formal systems and biology”. Axiomathes 21(3):439–454
Herker E, Jungwirth H, Lehmann KA, Maldener C, Fröhlich KU, Wissing S, Büttner S, Fehr M, Sigrist S, Madeo F (2004) Chronological aging leads to apoptosis in yeast. J Cell Biol 164(4):501–507
Hodgson GM, Knudsen T (2008) Information, complexity and generative replication. Biol Philos 23:47–65
Kenyon CJ (2011) The first long-lived mutants: discovery of the insulin/IGF-1 pathway for ageing. Phil Trans R Soc B 366:9–16
Książek K (2010) Let’s stop overlooking bacterial aging. Biogerontology 11(6):717–723
Longo VD, Mitteldorf J, Skulachev VP (2005) Programmed and altruistic ageing. Nat Rev Gen 6(11):866–872
Louie AH (2009) More than life itself: a synthetic continuation in relational biology. Ontos Verlag, Frankfurt
Lyon P (2006) The biogenic approach to cognition. Cogn Process 7(1):11–29
McCay CM, Cromwell MF, Maynard LA (1935) The effect of retarded growth upon the length of life span and upon the ultimate body size. J Nutr 10:63–79
McCulloch WS (1965) Embodiments of mind. MIT Press, Cambridge
Morin E (1980) La Méthode 2, La Vie De La Vie. Seuil, Points Essais, Paris
Morin E (1986) La Méthode 3, La Connaissance De La Connaissance. Seuil, Points Essais, Paris
Peacocke C (1999) Computation as involving content: a response to Egan. Mind and Language 14:195–202
Piccinini G (2007) Computational modelling vs. computational explanation: Is everything a Turing machine, and does it matter to the philosophy of mind? Australasian J Philos 85(1):93–115
Piper PW (2006) Long-lived yeast as a model for ageing research. Yeast 23(3):215–226
Plato (1901/380–370) The Republic, translated by Benjamin Jowett. The Cooperative Publication Society, New York
Putnam H (1960) Minds and Machines. In: Hook S (ed) Dimensions of mind: a symposium. Collier, New York
Rosen R (1991) Life itself: a comprehensive inquiry into the nature, origin, and fabrication of life. Columbia University Press, New York
Schäfer D (2005) Aging, longevity, and diet: historical remarks on calorie intake reduction. Gerontology 51:126–130
Sebba G (1972) Descartes and pascal: a retrospect. Modern Language Notes 87(6):96–120
Shapin S (2000) Descartes the doctor: rationalism and its therapies. Brit J Hist Sci 33(2):131–154
Shapin S, Martyn C (2000) How to live forever: lessons of history. Brit Med J 321:1580–1582
Varela F (1978) Principles of biological autonomy. Elsevier, New York
Varela F (1992) Autopoiesis and a biology of intentionality. In: McMullin B, Murphy N (eds) Autopoiesis and Perception, Proceedings of a workshop held at on August 25th and 26th. Dublin City University Press, Dublin
Varela F (2000) Four batons for the future of cognitive science. In: Wiens B (ed) Envissioning knowledge. Dumont, Cologne
Varela F, Maturana HR, Uribe R (1974) Autopoiesis: the organization of living systems, its characterization and a model. Biosystems 5:187–196
Varela F, Thompson E, Rosch E (1991) The embodied mind: cognitive science and human experience. MIT Press, Cambridge
The authors are granted by the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET). The authors want to specially thank Professor Javier Bussi for helpful reading of the manuscript and advice on the English translation.
About this article
Cite this article
Campero, M.B., Favre, C. Res Computans: The Living Subject from Yeast to Human. Axiomathes 22, 457–468 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10516-011-9177-5
- Cartesian cogito
- Cell survival