Dear Guy,

Please allow me to respond to your invitation to Terry with my two cents.

My triad for supporting the dynamics of life is a bit different. I see the
three essential fundamentals as:

1. Aleatoricism

2. Feedback

3. Memory

Just to briefly elaborate on each:

1. I use aleatoricism to avoid the baggage associated with the term
"chance", which most immediately associate with "blind" chance. The
aleatoric spans the spectrum from unique events to blind chance to
conditional chance to propensities to just short of determinism.

2. More specifically (and in parallel with autopoesis) I focus on
autocatalytic feedback, which exhibits the property of "centripetality".
Centripetality appears on almost no one's list of properties of life,
despite its ubiquity in association with living systems.

3. Memory (and information) likely inhered in stable configurations of
processes (metabolism) well before the advent of molecular encoding. Terry
speaks to this point in Biological Theory 1(2):136-49.

My fundamentals do not include reproduction, because I see reproduction as
corollary to 2 & 3.

I propose a full metaphysics for life predicated on these three

Looking forward to what others see as fundamental.


> I personally consider metabolism to be at the core of what constitutes
> ‘life’, so the notion of autopoeisis is very attractive to me.  It is
> also possible that the richness of life as we know it depends on having
> metabolisms (activity), genomes (memory), and reproduction combined.  The
> reductionistic approach to singling out one of these three pillars of life
> as its essence may be futile.  However, I want to point out that the most
> reduced version of ‘life’ I have seen was proposed by Terry Deacon in
> the concept he calls “autocells”.  Terry has made great contributions
> to FIS dealing with related topics, and I hope he will chime in here to
> describe his minimalist form of life, which is not cellular, does not have
> any metabolism or genetically encoded memory.  Autocells do, however,
> reproduce.
> Regards,
> Guy

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