Lv 5
Crysod asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 9 years ago

What is life exactly?

What makes something alive? What makes "life" different from a machine that can feel, think, learn and do just about everything a human can do? I'd like to hear your definitions of life and what you make of it, thanks in advance.

8 Answers

  • Dustin
    Lv 5
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Life can be looked at severally different ways like most of anything in the universe. This reality we live in today, this physical realm and everything inside it is life. It's the reality that we live in, the reality we can see, the make out this world or life.

    However though, things that have a mind and organs that continuously produce their own agenda towards living can be considered something that has life as well. Do we label machines, as something that is physically created with an auro or it's own agenda towards reality, are these things alive or just programmed?

    That's when you begin to think perhaps we may not be much different from something as a computer or other type of machine after all. We are just programmed in different ways through the mind, while we use actual electronics and computer processing for machines.

    So I suppose that everything is life possibly, it it's own unique way.

  • 9 years ago

    To me life is a concept we human beings have, which causes us massive problems. We are aware that this will end one day. Personally I do not think that other animals are aware that one day they will die. As they grow older, they become weaker and look for refuge. But I do not think that say a horse at the age of 2 knows that in about 20 years it will cease to exist.

    So we want to do something with this life. This is where the problems start, "my life", "the misery of your life", "get a life", "that I am traveling all around the world", and so on.

    I personally have a fairly strange story, because for 49 years, I had no idea that I had a life. So these questions were of no concern to me.

  • Ben
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    Life has many synonyms. Existence, being, 'this'. Reality, consciousness, thought, ego - to name a few. It has a very diverse definition.

    One thing is certain. It would not exist, to you, without you. It's existence, to you, is entirely dependent upon you. It is not that wrong to say that one is certainly the center of the universe - for a universe or center for that matter would not exist without you, at least not a center to you. It is all relative.

    I was thinking this morning that all 'this' is an organelle of my being.

    I desired to sever it from myself so that I may have peace, rest and death.

    I must admit that life is defined by death. That is the only certainty within life, all else is an absolute subjectivity. Life - is subjective, death is objective and absolute. Justice is a straight line.

  • 9 years ago

    Life is created by God (not religion) and all else is artificial. Even things that are biologically engineered are merely Gods creation altered to some other unnatural state or process to achieve the same or similar natural state. A robot can never be truly (alive) because it cannot reproduce. It can be duplicated and maybe even get to the point of learning to duplicate itself but it cannot reproduce and reproduction is a key component to life. All living thing have the ability to reproduce in some form or fashion. If it cannot reproduce it is not alive. (please no stupid comments like what if someone is sterile)

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  • 9 years ago

    Its a tricky question, I will give you that. But one of my professor's who is a biophysicist says in his experiments, LIFE is defined as anything that has the following three properties:

    1. It must have some kind of mechanism to consume a little bit from its surroundings. Like oxygen from air and minerals from soil.

    2. It must have some sort of internal mechanism to generate energy. Like photosynthesis in plants, burning of food in our bodies, etc.

    3. It must be able to reproduce itself. Like plants sowing seeds on its own. All living things reproduce.

    I have given my answer from a purely scientific point of view. As far as learning and thinking like humans are concerned, that would just require me to add more to the above list like a better nervous system and a fully developed brain, etc.

    Cheers to life !

  • 9 years ago

    Life as we know it is the result of the first replicating molecule. Until a robot is able to create copies of itself to reproduce, it is not considered life.

  • 9 years ago

    Machines do not have--and do not need--most of the criteria for defining life:

    Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.

    Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life.

    Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.

    Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.

    Adaptation: The ability to change over a period of time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity as well as the composition of metabolized substances, and external factors present.

    Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion, for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism) and by chemotaxis.

    Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.

    Growth: A living organism must grow in some manner, most often by converting external materials into progeny or additional mass.

    Stimulus Response: Living organisms must respond to stimuli in their environment. The amount of stimuli responded to may vary, as may the specific responses, but there must be some interface between the organism and the external world. Stimuli may result in simple metabolic shifts, or provoke complex behavioral changes.

    Metabolism: Living organisms must be capable of converting energy in their environment into a new form. This definition is often given in much more scientifically-precise terms, to ensure the exclusion of pure-energy reactions such as stars.

    Homeostasis: Living organisms are able to modify themselves on some level to remain within set parameters. This is related to stimulus response, but builds further on that idea.

    Reproduction: All living organisms are capable of replicating. This may be done by interaction with other organisms (sexually), or autonomously (asexually).

    Mutation: In addition to being able to reproduce, a living organism must be able to spontaneously change and develop between generations.

    Autonomous Motion: A living thing is capable of moving under its own power. This motion may be very slight, and does not require locomotion, but in some way movement must occur.

    All lists vary slightly, but all have the same basic concepts. We do NOT have machines that can literally 'think', or 'feel' with emotion, or which 'reproduce', etc. But if the day ever comes when a robot can do some of those things, then we may be forced to change our criteria for life, by making it even more exclusive of non-life than it is now.

  • 9 years ago

    Exactly? I don't know. But my best guess is: Matter that's able to metabolize and reproduce.

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