Introduction

The life phenomenon is one of the basic problems of understanding the universe. It is extremely important for both natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) and humanities (philosophy, psychology, etc.). The process of perception is a loop leading through inorganic nature, life, and consciousness back to reflection of the foundations of nature; so its understanding cannot be complete without answering the question: ''What is life?''

The life phenomenon problem can include two important aspects concerning life, as a general concept, a logical scheme, on the one hand; and as the real object, special natural realization, on the other. This article is devoted to the first approach (the second one is considered in Structure and History of Life). The universal definition of life (including, e.g., its potential electronic forms) cannot be complete at the moment in absence of the practical experience of dealing with extraterrestrial or artificial life. However, it can be obtained by way of extrapolation of stored knowledge and is useful for the study of real life forms as a theoretical background, helping interpretation of real observations and giving general perspectives of life science development.

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