An essay contest from the Royal Institute of Philosophy and Cambridge University Press
Entrants could win £2,500, publication in Philosophy, and a half hour of fame.
No, but seriously, they could contribute to an increasingly significant discussion.
Old style vitalism, attributing an internal animating substance or force to living things gave way to the idea that life may yet be a property over and above physical and chemical ones. Subsequent to that it was widely thought that life is an organisational or functional feature of bodies instantiated by their physical properties. With ongoing debates about analogous issues relating to mind (especially consciousness and intentionality) still running, and renewed interest in anti-reductionist interpretations of emergence and of teleological description and explanation the question is posed: do life forms present a problem for materialism?
As origin of life studies seem to devolve into every-researcher-a-new-theorist and origin of mind hasn’t got past perceptronium or similar theories of consciousness, it may be past time for some fresh thinking about life itself.
Whether the philosophers listen or not, one can refine one’s own thoughts.
We are told,
In assessing entries priority will be given to originality, clarity of expression, breadth of interest, and potential for advancing discussion.
We’ll see how far that goes. The temptation to fall back into feeble naturalism must be overwhelming at times.
= “But I can’t say that. That would imply that Darwinism is a false explanation of evolution!” Okay fine, then, buddy flower, you can’t say it. Some people will, though.
Submission guidelines. Final date: October 1, 2015.
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