Life is physics and chemistry and communication

In Guenther Witzany (ed.), DNA Habitats and Their RNA Inhabitants. pp. 1-9 (2015)
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Manfred Eigen extended Erwin Schroedinger’s concept of “life is physics and chemistry” through the introduction of information theory and cybernetic systems theory into “life is physics and chemistry and information.” Based on this assumption, Eigen developed the concepts of quasispecies and hypercycles, which have been dominant in molecular biology and virology ever since. He insisted that the genetic code is not just used metaphorically: it represents a real natural language.However, the basics of scientific knowledge changed dramatically within the second half of the 20th century.Unfortunately, Eigen ignored the results of the philosophy of science discourse on essential features of natural languages and codes: a natural language or code emerges from populations of living agents that communicate. This contribution will look at some of the highlights of this historical development and the results relevant for biological theories about life.
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