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what is "life?"

xSilverPhinx

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Re: what is "life?"
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2020, 05:35:06 PM »
im going to start playing in the metaphysics for a moment.

im not convinced that the animists were wrong. what if life is a normal characteristic of matter, like mass and volume, and is present in variable amounts, just as mass and volume, but maybe along a different axis?

this is a meaningless supposition unless having life also has something that corresponds to silver's list of biologically appropriate measures from ^^^above. after all, what's th epoint of calling a rock "alive" if it doesn't correspond to anything else that we call "alive?" this immediately brings up seer's question-- could "life" correspond to more than the biological list? here we run into both earthly ghosts and the questuon as to whether the stars sing for joy.

this is closely related in my mind to the idea of consciousness, since consciousness appears to be a characteristic of "higher" life--whatever that is-- and may therefore be a defining characteristicof life itself, present in difeent quantitites

But wouldn't consciousness insert itself into the broader definition of reaction to stimuli? Even if it's just brain chemistry. It's a special case of being aware and in the case of 'higher animals' like humans, being aware of their awareness. Not only do we know we exist and that one day will die, we know that we are conscious. Taking it a step further, I wonder if it's possible to gain an even higher consciousness than we humans have, what would that even look like? :notsure: 

Anyway, I'm just rambling.  :P

As far as we know, you need a nervous system in order to be conscious. Not all animals have a centralised nervous system -- some have a diffuse nervous system (jellyfish, for instance) and others don't have a nervous system at all (like sponges). Is a sponge conscious or do they simply low-level react to their environment? Where is the threshold between consciousness and non-consciousness? Or is it a spectrum?   

Though obviously not animals, plants are "aware" on some level of other plants in their surroundings, even communicating with them through chemicals and ground networks of roots and fungi, but aren't generally seen as conscious beings. But they're definitely alive.

I don't know. Unless you broaden the meaning of the word "consciousness" to include other non-mental states it seems to be restricted to animals with nervous systems, at least.     
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Randy

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Re: what is "life?"
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2020, 06:30:32 PM »
Trees and other plants are alive but have no consciousness that I'm aware of. They do have a method of reproducing which seems to be the key component to definition. But could a crystal reproduce? We know they can grow. If one broke off would it grow as well? If so did it just reproduce?
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
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billy rubin

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Re: what is "life?"
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2020, 09:49:11 PM »
these are all pertinent observations, and th eunderlying common dnominator seem sto be "as far as we can tell . . . "

i lean towards th econtinuous spectrum in terms of both life and consiousness, and i would regard the cutpoints that we like to apply as more reflective of our humanculture than of nature.

sure, there are things that are conscious and things that are alive, and other things that are not so, but i suspect the demarcation is artifcial.


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Randy

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Re: what is "life?"
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2021, 06:26:55 PM »
Would artificial life be considered alive? I haven't thought it through. it just came to me. It would, if so being, expand thoughts on what life actually is. Does it have to reproduce? Robots may one day make clones of themselves for instance.

I don't know. I guess I really need to think this one through as I can't say one way or another but it is something to contemplate.
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
"Some people focus on the destination. Atheists focus on the journey." -- Barry Goldberg

billy rubin

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Re: what is "life?"
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2021, 08:06:42 PM »
see?

now it gets awkward

should life be biological, by definition, granting what we have so far?

can a machine be sentient, or co zciouz?

turing test stuff now
« Last Edit: January 01, 2021, 08:25:08 PM by billy rubin »


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xSilverPhinx

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Re: what is "life?"
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2021, 06:42:28 PM »
Trees and other plants are alive but have no consciousness that I'm aware of. They do have a method of reproducing which seems to be the key component to definition. But could a crystal reproduce? We know they can grow. If one broke off would it grow as well? If so did it just reproduce?

:notsure: Maybe not reproduce but replicate itself?
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xSilverPhinx

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Re: what is "life?"
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2021, 06:43:31 PM »
Would artificial life be considered alive? I haven't thought it through. it just came to me. It would, if so being, expand thoughts on what life actually is. Does it have to reproduce? Robots may one day make clones of themselves for instance.

I don't know. I guess I really need to think this one through as I can't say one way or another but it is something to contemplate.

I think so!  :thumb:
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I'm not a slave to greed
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Davin

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Re: what is "life?"
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2021, 02:15:34 PM »
Artificial life could be life. What about an intelligence created in a machine that is at least as conscious as we are but cannot reproduce, has no metabolism, no cells, and no genetic material?
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Randy

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Re: what is "life?"
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2021, 03:25:26 PM »
Exactly, Davin! I've often thought about artificial intelligence and at one time worked on something that has now been surpassed by modern technology. I was trying to give it a semblance of life. I had wondered though if I could get it mobile and a brain that had at least short term memory that maybe it would be artificial life.

But then again, as the OP asked, "What is 'Life'?" I'm beginning to think there is no concrete definition. Still, I'm open for other answers to make me think in a different light.
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
"Some people focus on the destination. Atheists focus on the journey." -- Barry Goldberg

Re: what is "life?"
« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2021, 04:00:06 PM »
Exactly, Davin! I've often thought about artificial intelligence and at one time worked on something that has now been surpassed by modern technology. I was trying to give it a semblance of life. I had wondered though if I could get it mobile and a brain that had at least short term memory that maybe it would be artificial life.

But then again, as the OP asked, "What is 'Life'?" I'm beginning to think there is no concrete definition. Still, I'm open for other answers to make me think in a different light.
What we do know is what causes life, that is- biological life. Artificial intelligence isn't created from a bioform, and produced/created from the reactions of chemicals. One could conclude then that life is a chemical reaction, if they wish to leave off any more analysis at that point.
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