I want to know what is the definition of the life biologically , on the other hand , what is the definition of the death biologically ?? However, I think it is a very difficult question to answer .

  • $\begingroup$ It is something that has its own metabolism and can reproduce I think. $\endgroup$
    – Ro Siv
    Jul 29, 2015 at 11:17
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about philosophy. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Jul 29, 2015 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ I am really surprised by the attitude, that the question "what is life" should belong to philosophy only. It should be at the core of biology! The work of Tibor Ganti comes to mind. $\endgroup$
    – BKE
    Feb 21, 2018 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


Could not fit in a comment..

The question is off-topic

Biology is the study of life. Without a good definition of life, Biology itself is poorly defined. It appears that there is no universally accepted definition of life and therefore Biology (just like Chemistry and Physics to cite other examples) is a poorly defined field of study. But it is not scientists job to decide whether their work should stand within one category or another, nor whether those categories are natural categories (see prototype theory) or not. It is the job of philosophers and therefore this question is about philosophy and is off-topic here.

Few notes about the definition of life

Most often, philosophers see a continuum from not living to living things and not a clear dichotomy (ref.).

Biologists, most often just assume that bacteria, archea and eukaryotes are living things while viruses, viroids and prions are not living things. This arbitrary dichotomy is based on the concept of metabolism. However, this dichotomy can lead to some limit cases. Typically, considering viruses as not being living things yields to intuitive issues when thinking about macroviruses such as Marseillovirus and Lausanevirus.

There are two questions in your post

Of course, the definition of what is dead is a total different question from the question of what is a living thing. A stone is not dead it is just not a living thing. Even then, the definition of death is of interest to philosophers, not to biologists. You should always try to limit your post to a single question.

  • $\begingroup$ Well, that is curious to receive down votes for this comment/answer. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Jul 29, 2015 at 16:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I down voted because I disagree with your opinion. Biology is the study of life; how, then, is a question about its definition off-topic? $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Jul 29, 2015 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ because this answer dignifies the question $\endgroup$ Jul 29, 2015 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ @canadianer The field of Biology is itself poorly defined. Just like are Physics and Chemistry and it is not the job of scientists to care about whether their work should be considered as being part of one field or another. Typically virology is field that is mostly part of biology although viruses are usually considered as not being living things. This question is definitely about philosophy and there are several philosophy books that discuss this issue as the one I linked in my answer. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Jul 29, 2015 at 23:56
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    $\begingroup$ Oh....that's a good point. I guess I often dignify bad questions with answer (and voting to close in the same time). I feel bad when someone don't get any help. But that's probably not helping them nor the site. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Jul 30, 2015 at 1:46

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