Definition of Life


Life is a self-organizing and self-generating activity of open non-equilibrium systems determined by their internal semiotic structure


This definition is a modern translation of the Aristotelian definition: “Life is a body’s feeding, growth and decline reasoned in itself” (De Anima).


My vision of life in the Universe is based on the principles of the quantum measurement theory, which can be considered as a mirrored image of theoretical biology. Life by its existence (in self-reflecting loops) establishes basic physical parameters of the Universe. The philosophical background of this approach is in Greek philosophy (Parmenides, Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle), in monadology of G.W. Leibniz and in the organism philosophy of A.N. Whitehead. It also accepts certain features from the Russian cosmism.



 Basic principles of theoretical biology



The field of theoretical biology is a description of systems that possess their own embedded description (Igamberdiev 1999). Life always maintains and solves these paradoxes since living organisms possess their internal description inside them (Igamberdiev 1993, 1998). The structure of the Universe includes a self-reflective loop to be observable (i.e. existing). This may substantiate the structure of the Universe and the observed values of fundamental constants (the anthropic principle) (Igamberdiev 2001). These constants provide observability of the Universe and the possibility of free choice at higher levels of self-reference (Igamberdiev 2004).


The main problem of biology is explanation of actualization. Any actualization takes place from the potential field which is reduced. The potential field is a superposition of different opposite states existing potentially as referred to the same moment of time. The reduction is irreversible and leads to iterative recursive process (represented as a development and evolution of the system).


The smallest details of living systems are molecular devices that operate between the set of potential dimensions (microscale) and the actual three-dimensional space (macroscale). They realize non-demolition quantum measurements in which time appears as a mesoscale dimension separating contradictory statements in the course of actualization. These smaller devices form larger devices (macromolecular complexes), up to living body.


The quantum device possesses its own potential internal quantum state (IQS), which is maintained for prolonged time via error-correction being a reflection over this state. Decoherence-free IQS can exhibit itself by a creative generation of iteration limits in the real world. To avoid a collapse of the quantum information in the process of correcting errors, it is possible to make a partial measurement that extracts only the error-information and leaves the encoded state untouched.


In natural quantum computers, which are living systems, the error-correction is internal. It is a result of reflection, given as a sort of a subjective process allotting optimal limits of iteration. The IQS resembles the properties of a quasi-particle, which interacts with the surround, applying decoherence commands to it.


In this framework, enzymes are molecular automata of the extremal quantum computer, the set of which maintains stable highly ordered coherent state, and genome represents a concatenation of error-correcting codes into a single reflective set. Biological systems, being autopoietic in physical space, control quantum measurements in the physical universe. The biological evolution is really a functional evolution of measurement constraints in which limits of iteration are established, possessing criteria of perfection (e.g. the golden section) and having selective values.


Selected citations from my works


Main publications:


Igamberdiev AU (2018) Hyper-restorative non-equilibrium state as a driving force of biological morphogenesis. BioSystems 173: 104-113


Igamberdiev AU (2018) Time and life in the relational universe: prolegomena to an integral paradigm of natural philosophy. Philosophies 3: 30


Simeonov PL, Gare A, Matsuno K, Igamberdiev AU, Noble D (2017) The Western and Eastern thought traditions for exploring the nature of mind and life. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 131: 1-11


Sawa K, Igamberdiev AU (2017) The dynamics of interaction of reflexive subjects operating with the two-valued versus many-valued logic. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 131: 348-353


Igamberdiev AU, Shklovskiy-Kordi NE (2017) The quantum basis of spatiotemporality in perception and consciousness. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 130: 15-25


Bi L., Igamberdiev A.U., Marijuan P.C. (2017) Information and symmetry: adumbrating the abstract core of complex systems. Information 8: 1


Igamberdiev AU (2017) Evolutionary transition from biological to social systems via generation of reflexive models of externality. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 131: 336-347.


Sawa K, Igamberdiev AU (2016) The Double Homunculus model of self-reflective systems. BioSystems 144: 1-7


Igamberdiev AU, Shklovskiy-Kordi NE (2016) Computational power and generative capacity of genetic systems. BioSystems 142-143: 1-8


Igamberdiev AU, Shklovskiy-Kordi NE (2016) Symmetry principles in generation and transfer of genetic information. Symmetry: Culture and Science 27: 73-80


Igamberdiev AU (2015) Time, Life, and Civilization. Nova Science Publishers, New York. ISBN: 978-1634638302. 224 pp.


Igamberdiev AU (2015) Anticipatory dynamics of biological systems: from molecular quantum states to evolution. International Journal of General Systems 44: 631-641


Igamberdiev AU (2014) Time rescaling and pattern formation in biological evolution. BioSystems 123: 19-26


Sharov AA, Igamberdiev AU (2014) Inferring directions of evolution from patterns of variation: The legacy of Sergei Meyen. BioSystems 123: 67-73


Igamberdiev AU (2012) Physics and Logic of Life. Nova Science Publishers, New York. ISBN: 978-1-61942-664-1. 178 pp.


Igamberdiev AU (2012) Biomechanical and coherent phenomena in morphogenetic relaxation processes. BioSystems 109: 336-345


Igamberdiev AU (2009) Fundamentals of natural computation in living systems. In: Computational Biology: New Research (Alona S. Russe, Ed.). Nova Publishers, New York.


Igamberdiev AU, Kleczkowski LA (2009) Metabolic systems maintain stable non-equilibrium via thermodynamic buffering. BioEssays 31: 1091-1099


Igamberdiev AU (2008) Objective patterns in the evolving network of non-equivalent observers. BioSystems 92 (2): 122-131


Igamberdiev AU (2007) Physical limits of computation and emergence of life. BioSystems 90 (2): 340-349


Igamberdiev AU (2005) The computation power of living systems is maintained by decoherence-free internal quantum states. In: Proceedings of FIS2005, The Third Conference on the Foundations of Information Science, Paris, July 2005. Ed. Michel Petitjean. Online Edition. ISBN 3-906980-17-0. MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Igamberdiev AU (2004) Quantum computation, non-demolition measurements, and reflective control in living systems. BioSystems 77 (1-3): 47-56


Igamberdiev AU (2003) Living systems are dynamically stable by computing themselves at the quantum level. Entropy 5 (2): 76-87


Igamberdiev AU (2003) The mesoscale level of self-maintained reflective systems - a dynamic link between micro and macroscales. In Micro - Meso - Macro: Addressing Complex Systems Couplings (H Liljenstrom, U Svedin, eds). Chapter 5. World Scientific, Singapore, pp. 55-76


Igamberdiev AU (2002) Biological evolution - a semiotically constrained growth of complexity. Sign Systems Studies 30 (1): 271-282


Igamberdiev AU (2001) Semiokinesis - Semiotic autopoiesis of the Universe. Semiotica 135 (1-4): 1-23


Igamberdiev AU (1999) Semiosis and reflectivity in life and consciousness. Semiotica 123 (3-4): 231-246


Igamberdiev AU (1999) Foundations of metabolic organization: coherence as a basis of computational properties in metabolic networks. BioSystems 50 (1): 1-16


Igamberdiev AU (1998) Time, reflectivity and information processing in living systems: a sketch for the unified information paradigm in biology. BioSystems 46 (1-2): 95-101



Igamberdiev AU (1997) Information processing as an intrinsic property in living systems. Origin and dynamics of information. World Futures 50 (4): 571-582


Igamberdiev AU (1997) Information processing in biosystems: quantum mechanical bakground and relation to symmetry-breaking. Symmetry: Culture and Science 8 (2): 193-205


Igamberdiev AU (1996) Life as self-determination. In Defining Life: The Central Problem in Theoretical Biology (M Rizzotti, ed.). University Publishers, Padova, pp. 129-148


Igamberdiev AU (1995) The Logic of Biological Organization (Monograph). Voronezh: University Publishers. 152 pp. [In Russian]


Igamberdiev AU (1994) The role of metabolic transformations in generation of biological order. Rivista di Biologia - Biology Forum 87 (1): 19-38


Igamberdiev AU (1993) Quantum mechanical properties of biosystems - a framework for complexity, structural stability, and transformations. BioSystems 31 (1): 65-73


Igamberdiev AU (1993) On logical analysis of development and time in biology. Izvestiya Rossiyskoi Akademii Nauk Seriya Biologicheskaya [Proceedings of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Biology Series] 5: 786-788 [In Russian]


Igamberdiev A.U. (1992) Organization of biosystems: A Semiotic approach. In Biosemiotics. A Semiotic Web 1991 (=Approaches to Semiotics 106) (T Sebeok, J Umiker-Sebeok, eds.). Moyton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 125-144


Igamberdiev AU (1991) Stability and transformation of the biosystems - physical foundations and logical interpretation. Zhurnal Obshchei Biologii [Journal of General Biology] 52 (5): 673-690 [In Russian]


Igamberdiev AU (1991) Anthropic principle and the unity of the humanities and the natural sciences. Alma Mater 8: 57-68 [In Russian]


Igamberdiev A.U. (1987) The determinism principle and the problem of entity of a biological object. In Determinism and Modern Science (AS Kravets, ed.). Voronezh, University Publishers, pp. 130-145 [In Russian]


Igamberdiev AU (1986) Problems of description of epigenetic systems. Zhurnal Obshchei Biologii [Journal of General Biology] 47 (5): 592-600 [In Russian]


Igamberdiev AU (1985) Time in biological systems. Zhurnal Obshchei Biologii [Journal of General Biology] 46 (4): 471-482 [In Russian]