Explaining the Origin of Life is not Enough for a Definition of Life

Abstract

The comments focus on a presumed circular reasoning in the operator hierarchy and the necessity of understanding life’s origin for defining life. Below it is shown that its layered structure prevents the operator hierarchy from circular definitions. It is argued that the origin of life is an insufficient basis for a definition of life that includes multicellular and neural network organisms.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Conrad M. (1982) Bootstrapping model of the origin of life. Biosystems 15: 209–219

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Hengeveld R., Fedonkin M. A. (2007) Bootstapping the energy flow in the beginning of life. Acta Biotheoretica 55: 181–226

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Hengeveld, R. (2010). Definitions of life are not only unnecessary, but they can do harm to understanding. Foundations of Science. doi:10.1007/s10699-010-9208-5. arXiv:0912.5508v2.

  4. Jagers op Akkerhuis G.A.J.M. (2010) Towards a hierarchical definition of life, the organism, and death. Foundations of Science 15(3): 245–262. doi:10.1007/s10699-010-9177-8 arXiv:0912.5508v2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Martin W., Russell M. J. (2003) On the origins of cells: A hypothesis for the evolutionary transitions from abiotic chemistry to chemoautotrophic prokaryotes, and from prokaryotes to nucleate cells. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, series B-Biological Sciences 358: 59–83

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 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.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gerard Jagers op Akkerhuis.

Additional information

This paper is a response to commentaries by van Straalen (2010) and Hengeveld (2010) on my (2010) paper.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jagers op Akkerhuis, G. Explaining the Origin of Life is not Enough for a Definition of Life. Found Sci 16, 327–329 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10699-010-9209-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • Definition of life
  • First cell
  • Operator hierarchy
  • Artificial life
  • Astrobiology