more from Peter van Inwagen

Single Idea 17567

[catalogued under 27. Natural Reality / F. Biology / 2. Life]

Full Idea

A flame, though it is a self-maintaining event, does not seem to be nearly so well individuated as a life.

Gist of Idea

A flame is like a life, but not nearly so well individuated


Peter van Inwagen (Material Beings [1990], 09)

Book Reference

Inwagen,Peter van: 'Material Beings' [Cornell 1995], p.87

A Reaction

This is to counter the standard problem that if you attempt to define 'life', fire turns out to tick nearly all the same boxes. The concept of 'individuated' often strikes me as unsatisfactory. How does a bonfire fail to be individuated?

Related Idea

Idea 6126 Life is Movement, Respiration, Sensation, Nutrition, Excretion, Reproduction, Growth (MRS NERG) [PG]