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ŻYCIE JEST PLAZMĄ: WSPÓŁCZESNA POSTAĆ METAFORY ŻYCIA JAKO OGNIA

JÓZEF ZON
Roczniki Filozoficzne / Annales de Philosophie / Annals of Philosophy
Vol. 45, No. 3, "PHILOSOPHIE DE LA NATURE ET PROTECTION DE L'ENVIRONNEMENT / PHILOSOPHY OF NATURE AND ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION / FILOZOFIA PRZYRODY I OCHRONA ŚRODOWISKA" (1997), pp. 221-247
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43408214
Page Count: 27
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ŻYCIE JEST PLAZMĄ: WSPÓŁCZESNA POSTAĆ METAFORY ŻYCIA JAKO OGNIA
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Abstract

In the antiquity, the essence of life processes was considered a kind of creative fire (Heraclitus, the Stoa). Also, in modern times, some concepts were formulated according to which a common fire was supposed to be essential for life (E. Pflüger, W. Preyer). However, results of some investigations carried out in the last decades indicate that the range of essential factors constituting life is richer and involves many physical processes, as well as chemical and informational ones. Although combustion may not be considered as the basic factor constituting life, the phrase „life is fire” may now be regarded as a heuristically (very) fruitful metaphor. It has been shown that both fire and physical plasma share many features. Moreover, there are also properties that are common to fire, plasma and life (Tables 1, 2, and 3). In this regard, no wonder that concepts were put forward, claiming the existence of a specific type of physical plasma unique to life itself. This new state of matter was termed bioplasma (W. Sedlak 1967, W. M. Iniuszyn et al. 1968). So far, the existence of this specific type of plasma has not yet been proven experimentally. Therefore, in the present work the following objectives were set: 1) identifying the common as well as differentiating features of fire, plasma and life and, on the basis of these data, 2) showing that if the claim of the existence of bioplasma was a metaphor only, it may function as a modern, deepened re-formulation of the ancient life-as-fire metaphor. This life-as-plasma metaphor should give rise to a new class of models of the living systems.

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