Communication: The Key to Understanding the Very Nature of ‘Life’, ‘Death’ and the Force Driving Evolution

  • Arnold De Loof
Part of the Einstein Meets Magritte: An Interdisciplinary Reflection on Science, Nature, Art, Human Action and Society book series (EMMA, volume 5)


The term ‘life’ as it is daily used has different meanings in, e.g., ‘life activity’, ‘life span’, ‘life quality’, ‘life cycle’, ‘life as the difference making property between inanimate and animate matter’, ‘life’ returns in a ‘sleeping leg’, etc. This is one of the reasons which leads to the erroneous impression that ‘life’ is such an abstract term it cannot possibly be comprehended by the human mind and could not be defined. In this paper I will show how plausible definitions of ‘life’ (as an activity) and ‘death’ can be simply derived by logically combining (i) the principles of compartmental organization of the living state, with (ii) the principles of communication and (iii) those of Ilya Prigogine’s dissipative systems.


Bifurcation Point Cell Organelle Dissipative System Irreversible Loss Classical Biology 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnold De Loof
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology of the K. U. LeuvenZoological InstituteLeuvenBelgium

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