The World of Biological Complexity: Origin and Evolution of Life

von Bernd-Olaf Küppers

Bernd-Olaf Küppers

Physiker, Philosoph und theoretischer Biologe bei Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Bernd-Olaf Küppers, am 10.Juni.1944 in Bayreuth geboren ist Physiker, Philosoph und theoretischer Biologe und Mitherausgeber der Zeitschrift Philosophia naturalis.

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Many WorldsThe problem of the origin and evolution of life represents one of the great challenges of contemporary science. In fact, it proves to be a scientific problem of tremendous complexity, which evokes numerous questions depending on the perspective that we adopt. For this reason we cannot expect to find a single answer to this fundamental problem. Instead, the solution may be to constitute a mosaic of quite different answers that some day may fit together into a coherent picture of the many-sided world of biological complexity.

Any investigation of the origin of life has to start from a basic classification of the facets of the problem. One has to distinguish between the origin of life as a historical event, with all its contingent characteristics, and the origin of life as a physical event, governed by natural laws. The first aspect deals essentially with the historical constraints under which evolution took place on the primordial earth. The second aspect is concerned exclusively with the general principles and the regular properties that are associated with the transition from nonliving to living matter. The physical aspect leaves open the question of which historical path life actually has taken during the early phase of evolution.

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