This introductory chapter explains the main goal of this book: to define a traditional way of thinking life and to render plausible and relevant the task of carrying out a critical enquiry concerning it. Life has been traditionally understood as the self-appropriating and self-organizing process of not ceasing to be, or, as is also said, of taking care of one's own hunger. This conceptualization entails a particular understanding of time in natural processes conerning living beings and a particular conception of the being of living beings (for instance, as the “care” of not ceasing to be). It is held that the traditional concept of life has furnished the main paradigm for the concept of being, including in Heidegger's philosophy, so that the deconstruction of the traditional understanding of life entails a deconstruction of ontology. This introductory chapter includes a description of the content of the book.
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