A preprint of an essay by Sara Walker and Paul Davies, titled "The "Hard Problem" of Life" is now available on the arxiv preprint server. The essay is part of a collection to appear in a book titled "From Matter to Life: Information and Causality" published by Cambridge University Press and edited by Sara Walker, Paul Davies and George Ellis, due to appear later this year.
The "Hard Problem" of Life
Sara Imari Walker, Paul C.W. Davies
Chalmer's famously identified pinpointing an explanation for our subjective experience as the "hard problem of consciousness". He argued that subjective experience constitutes a "hard problem" in the sense that its explanation will ultimately require new physical laws or principles. Here, we propose a corresponding "hard problem of life" as the problem of how `information' can affect the world. In this essay we motivate both why the problem of information as a causal agent is central to explaining life, and why it is hard - that is, why we suspect that a full resolution of the hard problem of life will, similar to as has been proposed for the hard problem of consciousness, ultimately not be reducible to known physical principles.
Read more here.
A new perspective by Sara Walker and Leroy Cronin titled "Beyond Prebiotic Chemistry" is available in this week's issue of Science. The perspective explores the dynamic properties of networks that might be necessary for the emergence of the living state, and proposes that uncovering ``laws of life'' might be necessary to solving its origins. The full text is available from Science.
Sara Imari Walker