The following link is an article in NPR on the origin of life:
Below are the comments that were placed in NPR, the last ones, as will be indicated, were censored by NPR.
Perhaps it is a bit reductive to make depend a notion of life upon self-replication. Both the amoeba as well as the rock are two concrete physical existents that make exchanges with the environment in a dynamics of aggregation and disaggregation, in the case of the amoeba, life and death.
Both the rock as well as the amoeba are two self-motivated agents. Regarding a rock, it can be a mix of organic and inorganic. In the amoeba as well as in the rock there take place self-sustained dynamics necessary to the maintenance of the integrity of both structures/systems...
Interesting would be to take a conjectural look at the molecular dynamics, to perceive a kind of "social and associative instinct" of the atomic elements that enacted the molecules. There is a kind of sociability that makes the molecules fit to make associations, linkages and exchanges towards a greater thermodynamic stability.
In Philosophy, being, existence and life are still open issues. Science is very much concentrated on the issue of life, but before life there is the issue of the existence. Because if there are doubts in the classification of what is or is not life, what is a fact, and, because of that, is the case, is that all things there in the world, in the cosmos, if one prefers, are all existent things/entities/agents, be these things/entities/agents: rocks, amoebas, viruses, humans, ants, or even aliens...,
Mark, I don't get your point. The origin of reproduction and/or replication was not the issue that I raised.
My question is about the definition of life and the relation between life and existence.
All the living systems are existents, but not all the existents/systems are, in scientific terms, considered as living systems, what I state is that: to base, in fundamental terms, a definition of life upon reproduction or replication dynamics is quite reductive, which does not mean that I do not wish to know how reproduction and/or replication were enacted by the systems that are not classified as life.
All the chemical elements that constitute the brain of each of us existed in the cosmos long before us..., long before any system classified as living. Whatever is called life was enacted by such chemical elements.
Well, it is my conviction that to state that reproduction is an "attribute" is an error. Reproduction is dispositional, this is a fact, such as consciousness of the human animals is dispositional.
But this dispositional, in regards to reproduction, as capability to life generate more life was enacted by what?
Of course, one can always recur to the easiest solution, the solution that one has always in the pocket, ok it was God. But that is the solution of those who wish to resolve the issue more quickly.
Avoiding God's argument, probably, we have to state something like: only life could generate life, and the capability of replication could only be generated by life itself, and the question remains: what is life?
To classify is easy, to explain is harder.
For instance to explain the difference between life and existence is certainly hard.
Life is autopoietic, self-referent, one might well keep that in mind.
And existence? What is that?
I like to think of the noumenon as that which hides itself in what shows itself, it is that which we do not see in what we see. Which does not mean that we do not have the noumenic experience...
Mark, that perspective points towards a dependence of life upon reproduction/replication, that is, a reproduction/replication system comes before life. Then, what is life? And what is that which enacted a reproduction/replication system? If life comes after a reproduction/replication system then..., this reasoning enters into a looping worst than the egg and the chicken.
If there is only life because there is replication, then life is an effect of a replicating system that is not being classified as life, or is it? And you are pointing towards an eternity: that there has always been life? If one considers that life had a beginning somewhere in this cosmos you can make a reduction until God, but is God a living entity? Is God an existing entity? Does God exist? Is God a replicating system (God forbid, this Universe was enough)?
Ok, Seth, I opened the way for the statement that the thinking is to one side and the experience is to the other. But these things are complicated and complex. Gnosis has the primitive sense of action of knowing, action of learning through a certain (co)naturality of knowing by direct and spontaneous contact through perception (aisthesis/aistheton).
Of course, I am pointing towards a certain systemic synchronization between the perception and the perceived thing.
I defend that replication is dispositional, and I think that there is not a robust definition of life that allows us, human animals, to perceive the fundamental causality that is at the origin of life.
If I ask you, Mark, what the nature of life is, by nature understand that which some thing is necessarily, what some thing must be without which it would lose its integrity, how would you answer? Why does life enact replicating agents, for instance? Yes, because agents are life, but they are not the life, they are not life itself.
If life is a proprium of the living things, what is the proprium of life itself?
What about the humus? Does live need its individuated replicators?
We are talking about life here, but we should actually talk about LifeAndDeath, because what we have, in general terms is life and death everywhere, and not simply life. We cannot solve the problem of definition of life, without incorporating in that definition the definition of death as a fundamental necessity of life itself, in constitutive terms.
The following was censored by NPR.org:
Well, Mark, we are all here looking for explanations, we are all here looking for explanatory causes, we are all here looking for the origin of the things. Probably, if we were not motivated by a certain “idea” of control, we would obtain better answers, because we would ask better questions.
Each of us can be considered a manifestation or an expression, or even a position (in Spinozan terms) of life, we are life, but we are not the life, nor even parts of life. Thus, reproduction is dispositional in each of us, living manifestations, or manifestations of life, but reproduction is not a part of us, such as a thought or a feeling is not a part of us, but we are the ones thinking and feeling, reproduction is just a to be able to, in each of the beings that are us.
Life and death do not mean that life is a part of death or that death is a part of life, it just means that: that which we call living is sustained by a LifeAndDeath dynamics.
If we radicalize and go back to a fundamental approach, probably that which can be localized as an asymmetry is a problem of human cognition, which processes things in accordance with a before and after, or in accordance with dualities either-or, in the sense that LifeAndDeath constitute an ontological unit in terms of permanence in the existence of all the things.
Of course a definition of life, in the sense of The Life, has to cognitively synthesize a constitutive antinomy at the level of the causes and a paradox at the level of the effects and incorporate that synthesis in the understanding of the nature of that which we call life.
We have to start to understand that there are noumenic reasons that are simultaneously and spontaneously the affirmation and the negation of itself, without rupture, without fracture, without loss of permanence of itself as position of itself. Of course, this points towards an eternity.
If life can be eternal? It can!
If the existence is before life? Yes!
If the existence depends upon life? No, not at all. This is my conviction.
But upon what does existence, itself, depend? Upon the being, itself, because existence is!
And upon what does the being, itself, depend? Probably upon the nothing, that is still being..., and here we are in a cognitive strange looplooping...