Scientists discover largest bacteria-eating virus. It blurs line between living and nonliving.

Dec 11, 2019
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It's absurd not to include viruses in the category of living organisms. The main criterion for the definition of "life" should be goal-directed behavior and viruses certainly exhibit that. Just another example of the limitations of "science" as currently defined and practiced. In his book Mind and Cosmos philosopher Thomas Nagel argues for the inclusion of teleology or purposeful action as one of the aspects of the world that can be studied by science. Doing so would definitely place viruses where they belong, in the category of living things.
 
Mar 21, 2020
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It is not sensible to ascribe a virus with purpose. It is merely a chemical process. It doesn't choose to do what it does.

In fact all of life can be just about shown to have originated as mindless chemical process that evolved to where we are today.

Which would appear to make us 'lifeless' or make everything 'life', whichever way we choose to look at it.

There's a large body argues, or stipulates, that all is alive - all is 'life' - that life is the one-ness of reality and that seen that way the whole of reality is alive.

Pantheism either says this or something close to it.

Such speculations seem somewhat removed from where we commonly want to operate. Down on our colloquial level perhaps a definition of 'life', 'alive' might be better if it referenced 'choice to live'.

That is: truly living things seem to share 'emotion' to the extent that they can and do sometimes suffer emotional feelings to such an extent they'll surrender all desire to live and will die.

Mindless, lifeless, chemical reactions don't do that: while ever the inputs are there the processes will continue.

This would make plants 'dead' and that's not likely to be widely accepted, I know. However I do think it a more workable notion than any other.
 

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