The teleological transitions in evolution: A Gántian view

Simona Ginsburg, Eva Jablonka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We discuss Gánti[U+05F3]s approach to the study of minimal living organization, and suggest that his methodology can be applied to the study of the two other major teleological systems described by Aristotle: minimal consciousness (sentience, experiencing) and rationality. We start by outlining Gánti[U+05F3]s strategy for the case of life: listing the basic characteristics that any living system capable of open-ended evolution must satisfy, developing a dynamic model that instantiates these characteristics (the chemoton), and identifying a capacity of the system (unlimited heredity) that allows the system to dynamically persist over evolutionary time and to be used as a marker of the evolutionary transition to life. We apply Gánti[U+05F3]s explanatory strategy to the evolutionary transition to minimal consciousness, suggest a transition marker (unlimited associative learning) and discuss the wider evolutionary and philosophical implications of this approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-60
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Chemoton
  • Consciousness
  • Origin of life
  • Transition marker


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