Context : WhatIsLife?
Is fire alive?
The direction taken by many contemporary philosophers and their fellow travellers in the ArtificialLife community is leading to a definition of life that will include fires.
- Varela's notion of AutoPoiesis - protecting your own boundaries. Fires protect themselves from their natural enemies : fire fighters. With walls of hot gas and blinding smoke.
- StuartKauffman's notion of a living organism as "something that can both reproduce itself and do at least one thermodynamic work cycle."
- Reproduce - fires release spores into the air, which will drift until landing in fertile (dry) woodland.
- Metabolise - fires sure do metabolise.
- Seek food - fires follow gradients of new material to be consumed.
So either :
- a) fires are alive. Or
- b) we need another definition of life if we are to exclude these YellowWolves.
I've somewhere read another interesting and simplistic definition of life, but I can't remember it exactly, it was something about a positive feedback loop controlling a negative feedback loop (the positive part is about spreading the species and the negative about the equiballance of each individual). –ZbigniewLukasiak