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artificial lifevie artificielle (fr.); Künstliches Leben (ger.)

  • 1) The (apparent) possession of life by an inanimate object. (OED 2012)
    artificial life
    Behold the Statues which wise Vulcan plac'd Vnder the Altar of Olympian Ioue, Shall daunce for ioy of these great Nuptialls: And gaue to them an Artificiall life.
    Beaumont, F. (1613). The Masque of the Inner Temple and Grayes Inne: C2v.
    why may we not say, that all automata (engines that move themselves by springs and wheels as doth a watch) have an artificial life? For what is the heart, but a spring; and the nerves, but so many strings; and the joints, but so many wheels, giving motion to the whole body, such as was intended by the artificer
    Hobbes, T. (1651). Leviathan or the Matter, Forme and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiastical and Civil (The English Works, vol. 3, London 1839): ix.
    the artificial life of civilisation
    Anonymus (1870). Review: The theory of the arts. Anthropol. Rev. 8, 145-162: 147.
  • 2) The state of being of intentionally designed living organisms.
    artificial life
    la vie artificielle de l’acide acétique
    Giglio-Tos, E. (1900). Les problèmes de la vie. Essai d’une interprétation scientifique des phénomènes vitaux, vol. 1. La substance vivante et la cytiodiérèse: 40.
    Since these phenomena [viz. assimilation and reproduction] can be artificially induced among dead chemical substances, why suppose a special force necessary to explain them? The action of chemical affinity, which produces chemical changes in dead matter, suffices of itself to give an explanation. To the query of why, if capable of assimilation and reproduction, is the molecule of methyl-ethyl-ketone not living? the answer is given that the conditions of its existence are not realised, or not realisable, in nature. From the study of the artificial life of this molecule, the necessary conditions of life for a living molecule (biomolecule) are deduced, i.e. the conditions necessary for the accomplishment of the fundamental functions of assimilation and reproduction.
    Robertson, R.A. (1901). Giglio-Tos’s theory of living matter. Transactions and Proceedings of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh 22, 45-70: 50-1.

    Künstliches Leben ist Leben, das nicht im Prozess der natürlichen Evolution entstanden ist, sondern intentional von einem Designer gestaltet wurde. Vollkommen künstliche Lebewesen sind nicht durch Fortpflanzung aus anderen entstanden, sondern durch Zusammensetzung nicht organisierter Teile gebildet worden. Teilweise künstliche Lebewesen sind solche, die zwar von anderen Organismen, ihren Eltern, abstammen, deren Eigenschaften aber bewusst und gezielt von einem planenden Wesen verändert wurden (direkt durch Manipulation oder indirekt durch Züchtung).

    Toepfer, G. (2011). Historisches Wörterbuch der Biologie. Geschichte und Theorie der biologischen Grundbegriffe, vol. 2: 399.

  • 3) A property of artificial structures and systems (as computer simulations and robots) which are designed to simulate some basic aspects of biological behaviour, such as movement, interaction with surroundings, replication, or evolution; the field of study concerned with investigating or developing this. (OED 2012)
    artificial life
    We propose that the notion of the ›molecular logic of the living state‹ can be captured by the interactions of virtual automata and thus that the existence of artificial life within cellular automata is a distinct possibility
    Langton, C.G. (1987). Studying artificial life with cellular automata. Physica 22D, 120-149: 120; cf. id. (ed.) (1989). Artificial Life.
    Artificial Life is the study of man-made systems that exhibit behaviors characteristic of natural living systems. It complements the traditional biological sciences concerned with the analysis of living organisms by attempting to synthesize life-like behaviors within computers or other artificial media. By extending the empirical foundation upon which biology rests beyond the carbon-chain life that has evolved on Earth, Artificial Life can contribute to the theoretical biology by locating life-as-we-know-it within the larger context of life-as-it-could-be. [...] [Artificial Life (AL)] views life as a property of the organization of matter, rather than a property of the matter which is so organized
    Langton, C.G. (1989). Artificial life. In: id. (ed.) Artificial Life, 1-47: 1-2.
    the ontological status of a living process is independent of the hardware that carries it
    Rasmussen, S. (1992). Aspects of information, life, reality, and physics. In: Langton, C.G., Taylor, C., Farmer, J.D. & Rasmussen, S. (eds.). Artificial Life II, 767-773: 770.

Krimsky, S. (1982). Genetic Alchemy. The Social History of the Recombinant DNA Controversy.

Bud, R. (1993). The Uses of Life. A History of Biotechnology.

Parrochia, D. (1995). A historical note on »artificial life«. Acta Biotheoretica 43, 177-183.

Riskin, J. (ed.) (2007). Genesis Redux. Essays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life.