WG5: History and Philosophy of sciences


 - D. Duner (Sweden)History of science
 - Ch. Malaterre  (Canada): Philosophy of science

Life’s nature is strongly dynamic and systemic, forming a collection of interacting parts. It now appears likely that its appearance on Earth is to be explained through the coupling of different types of molecular structures and of specific transformation/evolutionary processes in which these structures are involved.

Within this broad  scientific context, the overall objectives of this working group cover two main areas of investigation:

  1. An assessment, from a philosophical perspective, of how the boundaries between chemistry and biology are being transformed as a result of a shift towards increasingly systemic or holistic approaches in the quest for a naturalist explanation of the origin of life. The focus here will be on characterizing the new tools, models and conceptions that are being elaborated to tackle the problem of origins within this wider evolutionary scenario, and on how the latter will provide a completely new view on the chemistry-biology interface.
  2. An analysis, from a history of science perspective, of the debate concerning the origin of life and the chemistry/biology divide. This will entail a study of changes in the definition of the life concept, in the classification and categorization of life, and in models for the evolution of life.

CSO Approval date: 14/11/2013
Starting date: 15/05/2014
Ending date: 14/05/2018

Action Chair:
Dr. Muriel GARGAUD (FR)

Vice chair:
Prof. Wolf GEPPERT (SE)

STSM Manager:
Prof. Nigel MASON (UK)

Web Manager:



Grant Holder Financial Representative:

Mrs Annick Caperan

Science Officer:
Dr. Mafalda QUINTAS

Administrative Officer:
Ms Aranzazu SANCHEZ



A Trans-Domain Action supported by COST.

COST is supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020



Involved countries

View the Interactive Map
of Member Countries

Participating Countries
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

COST International Partner Countries
Canada (UQAM), South Africa (Univ. of Johanesburgh), Russian Federation (Institute of Geology, Petrozavodsk), Australia (University of Sydney), United States of America (University of Hawai)

Specific Organisations
European Space Agency (ESA)

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs)

Aiming at fostering collaboration, sharing new techniques, and infrastructure that may not be available in other participants' institutions or laboratories. STSMs are intended especially for young PhD researchers, but they are open to senior researchers as well. View the documents at this link.

 It should be explicitely noted that Master students are not eligible for STSMs which are for PhD students and more experienced researchers.

The life-Origins COST Project

Life-ORIGINS (TD1308) is a Trans Domain European COST Action dedicated to the scientific investigation of the origins and evolution of life on Earth and habitability of other planets.

The Action has specifically excluded the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life in its portfolio. Creationist theorems are also outside the Action’s remit.

Individuals are not allowed to use the name of the Action, its logo or any corporate identity of COST TD1308 in any communication without prior approval of the Management Committee.

All publications referencing the support of the Action should be sent to the appropriate Working Group chair at the time of submission.