Tarja Knuuttila

© Barbara Mair

Philosopher of science Tarja Knuuttila investigates how contemporary life sciences extend biology beyond the actual evolved life on Earth in her ERC project. The main focus is on the philosophical significance of this transformation to possible life . To carry out research on possible life, Tarja Knuuttila conducts a philosophical analysis of synthetic biology and astrobiology. Key biological themes studied include unnatural biochemical bases and organisation principles of life, synthetic life, evolutionary possibilities and constraints, as well as the habitability of exoplanets. These topics are studied in cooperation with six leading laboratories in Europe and the USA. The biological study of possible life provides a resource for the development of philosophical theories within the fields of philosophy of science and naturalised metaphysics.