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Full Article: [pdf] DOI: Language: en Author(s):  Daniel Paksi
Title: The problem of the concept of the living machine according to Samuel Alexander’s emergentism Abstract: The concept of a living being as a kind of living machine is widespread and well-known. If it is only a metaphor, it does not mean much; however, if other- wise, there is a severe conceptual problem since the living part of the concept always indicates the notorious notion of vitalism. The question is how can living machines be really different from lifeless machines without the concept of vitalism? According to Samuel Alexander, the problem arises from the traditional usage of the concept of mechanical which is confused both with the concept of something is determinated and with the concept of material; furthermore, the latter concept is defined against the Cartesian concept of mind and not on its own. Alexander’s point is that the difference between lifeless machines and living beings lies not in a vital substance or a non-mechanical principle but in an emergent mechanical quality called life which simple machines lack.
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