What Is Life ?

Nigel Stobbs pd120395 at dingo.cc.uq.oz.au
Fri Jan 13 23:43:05 EST 1995


I need some advice about the "biological" necessary properties of life.  
I'm writing a paper which uses contemporary debates in applied ethics 
(e.g. abortion, euthanasia, environmental exploit.) as precedents for 
predicting the ethical debates which will occur as a result of the 
development of artificial organisms.

To cut a long story short, I distinguish between things which are 
biologically alive and things which are functionally alive.  What I need 
to know is this - what is the basic 'stuff' of which a biological thing 
is made ?  I've looked at Erwin Schrodinger's book and have heard the 
stuff about being able to exist independently and the need to contain all 
the genetic material necessary to self-replicate.  I am specifically 
intereted in precisely what it is that a biologically living thing has 
that no purely artificial thing can ever have.


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Nigel Stobbs

email: pd120395 at mailbox.uq.oz.au




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