Possible Life Project (ERC)

Cell illustration showing a cell and its microscopic contents
Inspired by Elowitz, M.B & Lim, W.A. (2010). Nature: 468: 890.

The possible life project

Welcome to the website of the project Possible Life: The Philosophical Significance of Extending Biology (LIFEMODE)! We are a group of philosophers of science studying cutting-edge research in the life sciences: synthetic biology, astrobiology, genetic engineering, and more. The project aims to address the philosophical implications of current research on life – not as we know it, but as it could be. The main question motivating the project is: How is biology being extended beyond life on Earth - and what is the philosophical significance of this? We approach this question through a two-pronged approach that puts scientific practice into a dialogue with philosophy of science.

The project's Principal Investigator is Dr. Tarja Knuuttila, professor of philosophy of science at the University of Vienna. Professor Knuuttila has a long-standing career in philosophical reflection on scientific practice. We are funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 818772). We are based at the University of Vienna, Austria.