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Artificial Life

Winter 2006, Vol. 12, No. 1, Pages 117-134
(doi: 10.1162/106454606775186392)
© 2006 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A Category Theoretical Argument against the Possibility of Artificial Life: Robert Rosen's Central Proof Revisited
Article PDF (266.28 KB)

One of Robert Rosen's main contributions to the scientific community is summarized in his book Life itself. There Rosen presents a theoretical framework to define living systems; given this definition, he goes on to show that living systems are not realizable in computational universes. Despite being well known and often cited, Rosen's central proof has so far not been evaluated by the scientific community. In this article we review the essence of Rosen's ideas leading up to his rejection of the possibility of real artificial life in silico. We also evaluate his arguments and point out that some of Rosen's central notions are ill defined. The conclusion of this article is that Rosen's central proof is wrong.