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What is the folk concept of life?


Beisbart, Claus; Reuter, Kevin (2021). What is the folk concept of life? Australasian Journal of Philosophy:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

This paper details the content and structure of the folk concept of life, and discusses its relevance for scientific research on life. In four empirical studies, we investigate which features of life are considered salient, universal, central, and necessary. Functionings, such as nutrition and reproduction, but not material composition, turn out to be salient features commonly associated with living beings (Study 1). By contrast, being made of cells is considered a universal feature of living species (Study 2), a central aspect of life (Study 3), and our best candidate for being necessary for life (Study 4). These results are best explained by the hypothesis that people take life to be a natural kind subject to scientific scrutiny

Abstract

This paper details the content and structure of the folk concept of life, and discusses its relevance for scientific research on life. In four empirical studies, we investigate which features of life are considered salient, universal, central, and necessary. Functionings, such as nutrition and reproduction, but not material composition, turn out to be salient features commonly associated with living beings (Study 1). By contrast, being made of cells is considered a universal feature of living species (Study 2), a central aspect of life (Study 3), and our best candidate for being necessary for life (Study 4). These results are best explained by the hypothesis that people take life to be a natural kind subject to scientific scrutiny

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Philosophy, experimental philosophy, living being, biology, cells, natural kinds, alient vs. universal features
Language:English
Date:30 November 2021
Deposited On:24 Dec 2021 04:19
Last Modified:25 Dec 2021 21:00
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0004-8402
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/00048402.2021.1995449