Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Organic Codes: A Unifying Concept to Life?

Version 1 : Received: 14 November 2020 / Approved: 16 November 2020 / Online: 16 November 2020 (10:49:11 CET)

How to cite: Farias, S.; Prosdocimi, F.; Caponi, G. Organic Codes: A Unifying Concept to Life?. Preprints 2020, 2020110412. Farias, S.; Prosdocimi, F.; Caponi, G. Organic Codes: A Unifying Concept to Life?. Preprints 2020, 2020110412.


Although increasing knowledge about biological systems has advanced exponentially in recent decades, it is surprising to realize that the very definition of Life keeps presenting theoretical challenges. Even if several lines of reasoning seek to identify the essence of life phenomenon, most of these thoughts contain fundamental problem in their basic conceptual structure. Most concepts fail to identify necessary and sufficient features to define life. Here, we analyzed the main conceptual framework regarding theoretical aspects supporting life concepts, such as (i) the physical, (ii) the cellular and (iii) the molecular approaches. Based on ontological analysis, we propose that Life should not be positioned under the ontological category of Matter. Yet, life should be better understood under the top-level ontology of “Process”. Exercising an epistemological approach, we propose that the essential characteristic pervading each and every living being is the presence of organic codes. Therefore, we explore theories in biosemiotics in order to propose a clear concept of life as a macrocode composed by multiple inter-related coding layers. Therefore, we suggest a clear distinction between the concept of life and living beings, a distinction that is not evident in theoretical terms. From the proposed concept, we suggest that the evolutionary process is a fundamental characteristic for life’s maintenance but not to its definition. The current proposition opens a fertile field of debate in astrobiology, biosemiotics and robotics.


Process; ontological category; life concept; essential feature


Biology and Life Sciences, Anatomy and Physiology

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