Seven reasons for the impossibility to create a universal definition of life

Vladimír Vodička


Although life and questions connected with its definition among traditional philosophical topics, at the beginning of the twenty-first century and after roughly two and a half thousand years of philosophical tradition no satisfactory definition of life is at one´s disposal. Though difficulties bond up with life definition don´t accompany philosophy alone, but also almost all fields touched by this topic. Causes of this state of affairs can be viewed as a combination of several complementary connected facts. Those facts are in the text stated as reasons against the possibility of creating universal definition of life and apply here one by one to the origin of life a postulated boarder line between life and nonlife, evolution of life and its variedness, multiplicity of definitions of life and still going discoveries of new organisms, philosophical tradition and lack of clarity of concepts, evolution of life as a historical process, critique of definitions of life from the point of view of „sample one“ and reflection of the concept life by conceptual analysis. Particular sources are about to be analyzed from the point of philosophy of biology with care for philosophical tradition, to questions linked with life and its selected definitions, to actual findings and explorations focused on life and possible contribution of philosophy to the endeavor of finding definition of life as such. Ground of proposed text is naturalism, physicalism and reductionism.


life, definition, philosophy, science, philosophy of biology, evolution, species, organism

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