Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 137–143 | Cite as

Is it Useful to Have a Clear-cut Definition of Life? On the Use of Fuzzy Logic in Prebiotic Chemistry

  • Gilles Bruylants
  • Kristin Bartik
  • Jacques ReisseEmail author
Defining Life


Many scientists, including one of the authors of the present paper, have devoted time to try to find a definition for life (Bersini and Reisse 2007). It is clear that a consensus will never be reached but, more importantly, it seems that the issue itself could be without major interest. It is indeed impossible to define a “natural” frontier between non-living and living systems and therefore also impossible to define dichotomic criteria which could be used in order to classify systems in one of these two classes (living or non-living). Fuzzy logic provides a natural way to deal with problems where class membership lacks sharply defined criteria. It also offers the possibility to avoid losing time with unnecessary controversies such as deciding whether a virus is, or is not, a living system.


Darwin Fuzzy logic Lamarck Origin of life Species 



G.B. thanks the Belgian Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique—FNRS for a post-doctoral fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gilles Bruylants
    • 1
  • Kristin Bartik
    • 1
  • Jacques Reisse
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Ingénierie Moléculaire et Biomoléculaire, Université Libre de Bruxelles, BelgiumBrusselsBelgium

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