The Purpose-Like Nature of Life

  • Popa Radu
Part of the Advances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics book series (ASTROBIO, volume 2)


According to Jeffrey Tze-Fei Wong (2002): Open image in new window Open image in new window A living system is one capable of reproduction and evolution, with a fundamental logic that demands an incessant search for performance with respect to its building blocks and arrangement of these building blocks. The search will end only when perfection or near perfection is reached. Without this built-in search, living systems could not have achieved the level of complexity and excellence to deserve the designation of life.” The reader must understand that a distinction exists between how the common language defines purpose and what the theory of early life means by it. In Dexter’s dictionary the word Open image in new window purpose’ is anthropocentrically associated to performing an action with a conscious (deliberate) aim, intention and/or design. Yet life displays elaborate and suitable features that resemble the results of a purpose-like action (Szathmáry 2002). In fact any material–energetic order has the potential for a Open image in new window tendency’ (or Open image in new window purposefulness’) directed in the opposite sense to entropy (Valenzuela 2002). Because the Open image in new window purposefulness’ of their function is such a vigorous and typical property of living organisms (Korzeniewski 2001, Szathmáry 2002), the search for a theory of life is more productive if it focuses on the best explanation for life (Bedau 1998).


Individual Probability Physical Existence Vital Force Intrinsic Tendency Lottery Winner 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Popa Radu
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Southern California Department of Marine Biology 3651 Trousdale Parkway, AHF 107 90089-0371 Los Angeles, CAUSA

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