Date and Time: October 11, Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. Location: Carlos Santamaría Building, Room B14 Speaker: Wim Hordijk (KLI) Title: Autocatalytic Sets: The Origin and Organization of Life Abstract: Life is a chemical reaction. Or, more precisely, life is a functionally closed and self-sustaining chemical reaction … Continue reading
Date and Time: June 21, Tuesday, 11:00 a.m.
Location: Carlos Santamaría Building, Room B14
Speaker: Leonardo Bich (Universidad de Chile)
Title: Why defining life is not pointless
Despite numerous and increasing attempts to define what life is, there is no consensus on necessary and sufficient conditions for life. Accordingly, some scholars have questioned the value of definitions of life and encouraged scientists and philosophers alike to discard the project. Commenting on the merits of this pessimistic conclusion, this paper explores the instrumental potential for operational definitions of life in scientific research. Rather than as classificatory tools for demarcation of natural kinds, we consider definitions of life from a pragmatic standpoint as theoretical and epistemic tools, and we focus on the possible contributions to research in those domains in which they are used most (e.g., Synthetic Biology, Origins of Life, Alife, and Astrobiology). We argue that critically rethinking the nature and uses of definitions can provide new insights into the epistemic roles of definitions of life for different research practices. In particular, we examine contexts where definitions integrate criteria for life into theoretical models that involve or enable observable operations. We show how these definitions of life play important roles in influencing research agendas and evaluating results, and we argue that to discard the project of defining life is neither sufficiently motivated, nor possible without dismissing important theoretical and practical research.
- IAS-Research Talk by Sune Holm: Causation as control: The case of synthetic biology
- IAS-Research Talk by Argyris Arnellos: “The body complexity thesis: multicellular hurdles for animal cognition”
- IAS-Research Seminar by Michael Beaton (UPV-EHU & Sussex): “Sensorimotor Direct Realism: How We Enact Our World”
- IAS-Research Seminar by Laura Menatti and Antonio Casado da Rocha: “Landscape and Health: Connecting Psychology, Aesthetics, and Philosophy through the Concept of Affordance”
- IAS-Research Talk by Sébastien Lerique: “The Epidemiology of Representations paradigm for the enquiry of cognition-with-culture: how online experiments surface problematic assumptions”
- IAS-Research Seminar by Xabier Barandiaran: “Collective identities in interaction networks: exploring the technopolitical autonomy of the 15M through neurodynamic analogies”
- IAS-Research Seminar by Ezequiel Di Paolo: “Participatory Object Perception”
- International Workshop ‘SYSTEMS AND EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVES ON THE ORIGINS OF LIFE’
- IAS-Research Seminar by Nei de Freitas Nunes-Neto: “Regulation in organisms and its ecological consequences”