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Publication Details

Canguilhem and Jacob on the Living

(Original title: Canguilhem a Jacob o živém)
Filozofia, 70 (2015), 1, 38-46.
Type of work: Papers
Publication language: Czech

“Algorithms of life” is the term used by François Jacob in his perhaps most well-known book Logic of Life. Algorithms refer to the “program” that allows us to follow our goal in a very precise manner. We have a finite number of operations that can lead us to understand living beings in the way Jacob does. This does not mean that we can predict everything what will happen in our lives, but we are able to estimate with a high probability of success the future trajectory of the living being (we call it the program) as well as his/her origins (history, evolution of the organism). To understand an organism means to be able to follow these directions and not only analyze its current state. I shall attempt to explore some counter-positions (for example that held by Georges Canguilhem) and to find the roots of Jacob’s theory. Some of them can be found for example in Claude Bernard’s theory.


Environment, François Jacob, French epistemology, French philosophy, Georges Canguilhem, Knowledge of life, Life, Organism, Organization, Reductionism, Vitalism

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