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  1. Field Equations, Quantum Mechanics and Geotropism.Han J. F. Geurdes - manuscript
    The biochemistry of geotropism in plants and gravisensing in e.g. cyanobacteria or paramacia is still not well understood today [1]. Perhaps there are more ways than one for organisms to sense gravity. The two best known relatively old explanations for gravity sensing are sensing through the redistribution of cellular starch statoliths and sensing through redistribution of auxin. The starch containing statoliths in a gravity field produce pressure on the endoplasmic reticulum of the cell. This enables the cell to sense direction. (...)
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  2. “Man-Machines and Embodiment: From Cartesian Physiology to Claude Bernard’s ‘Living Machine’”.Charles T. Wolfe & Philippe Huneman - forthcoming - In Justin E. H. Smith (ed.), Embodiment, Oxford Philosophical Concepts. Oxford University Press.
    A common and enduring early modern intuition is that materialists reduce organisms in general and human beings in particular to automata. Wasn’t a famous book of the time entitled L’Homme-Machine? In fact, the machine is employed as an analogy, and there was a specifically materialist form of embodiment, in which the body is not reduced to an inanimate machine, but is conceived as an affective, flesh-and-blood entity. We discuss how mechanist and vitalist models of organism exist in a more complementary (...)
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  3. El holobionte/hologenoma como nivel de seleccion.Javier Suárez - 2021 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 36 (1):81-112.
    The units or levels of selection debate concerns the question of what kind of biological systems are stable enough that part of their evolution is a result of the process of natural selection acting at their level. Traditionally, the debate has concerned at least two different, though related, questions: the question of the level at which interaction with the environment occurs, and the question of the level at which reproduction occurs. In recent years, biologists and philosophers have discussed a new (...)
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  4. The Ontology of Organismic Agency: A Kantian Approach.Hugh Desmond & Philippe Huneman - 2020 - In Andrea Altobrando & Pierfrancesco Biasetti (eds.), Natural Born Monads: On the Metaphysics of Organisms and Human Individuals. De Gruyter. pp. 33-64.
    Biologists explain organisms’ behavior not only as having been programmed by genes and shaped by natural selection, but also as the result of an organism’s agency: the capacity to react to environmental changes in goal-driven ways. The use of such ‘agential explanations’ reopens old questions about how justified it is to ascribe agency to entities like bacteria or plants that obviously lack rationality and even a nervous system. Is organismic agency genuinely ‘real’ or is it just a useful fiction? In (...)
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  5. The Unfolding of a New Vision of Life, Cosmos and Evolution.Agustin Ostachuk - 2020 - Ludus Vitalis 28 (53):81-83.
    Has science already answered the fundamental questions about the concepts of Life, Cosmos and Evolution? Has science not relegated these fundamental questions by following up on more immediate, “useful” and practical endeavors that ultimately ensure that the wheel of capitalism keeps spinning in its frantic search for material and economic progress? There is something terribly wrong with the current theory of evolution, understood as the Darwinian theory with its successive versions and extensions. The concept of natural selection, the cornerstone of (...)
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  6. A Theory of Evolution as a Process of Unfolding.Agustin Ostachuk - 2020 - Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 16 (1):347-379.
    In this work I propose a theory of evolution as a process of unfolding. This theory is based on four logically concatenated principles. The principle of evolutionary order establishes that the more complex cannot be generated from the simpler. The principle of origin establishes that there must be a maximum complexity that originates the others by logical deduction. Finally, the principle of unfolding and the principle of actualization guarantee the development of the evolutionary process from the simplest to the most (...)
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  7. The stability of traits conception of the hologenome: An evolutionary account of holobiont individuality.Javier Suárez - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (1):1-27.
    Bourrat and Griffiths :33, 2018) have recently argued that most of the evidence presented by holobiont defenders to support the thesis that holobionts are evolutionary individuals is not to the point and is not even adequate to discriminate multispecies evolutionary individuals from other multispecies assemblages that would not be considered evolutionary individuals by most holobiont defenders. They further argue that an adequate criterion to distinguish the two categories is fitness alignment, presenting the notion of fitness boundedness as a criterion that (...)
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  8. The Organism and its Umwelt: A Counterpoint Between the Theories of Uexküll, Goldstein and Canguilhem.Agustin Ostachuk - 2019 - In Jakob von Uexküll and Philosophy: Life, Environments, Anthropology. Londres, Reino Unido: pp. 158-171.
    The topic of the relationship between the organism and its environment runs through the theories of Uexküll, Goldstein and Canguilhem with equal importance. In this work a counterpoint will be established between their theories, in the attempt to assess at which points the melodies are concordant and at which points they are discordant. As fundamental basis to his theory, Uexküll relies on the concept of conformity to a plan, which allows him to account for the congruity and perfect adjustment between (...)
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  9. The Quest for a Holistic and Historical-Developmental Theory of the Organism.Agustin Ostachuk - 2019 - Ludus Vitalis 27 (51):23-42.
    In this work the doctrine of organicism will be addressed, as explained and seen mainly by Bertalanffy. We will study how this doctrine represents and embodies the ambiguity of Kantian teleology as a regulative principle, and how this same problem leads to consider a real problem as a knowledge problem. It will be concluded that organicism, conceived in this way, does not represent a true holism, but what we will call a syn-holism, a synthesis or assembly, and that to obtain (...)
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  10. Biological Individuals.Robert A. Wilson & Matthew J. Barker - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1 (1).
    The impressive variation amongst biological individuals generates many complexities in addressing the simple-sounding question what is a biological individual? A distinction between evolutionary and physiological individuals is useful in thinking about biological individuals, as is attention to the kinds of groups, such as superorganisms and species, that have sometimes been thought of as biological individuals. More fully understanding the conceptual space that biological individuals occupy also involves considering a range of other concepts, such as life, reproduction, and agency. There has (...)
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  11. Scott Lidgard and Lynn K. Nyhart, Eds. Biological Individuality: Integrating Scientific, Philosophical, and Historical Perspectives. [REVIEW]Catherine Kendig - 2018 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 8 (2):475-480.
    Biologists, historians of biology, and philosophers of biology often ask what is it to be an individual, really. This book does not answer that question. Instead, it answers a much more interesting one: How do biologists individuate individuals? In answering that question, the authors explore why biologists individuate individuals, in what ways, and for what purposes. The cross-disciplinary, dialogical approach to answering metaphysical questions that is pursued in the volume may seem strange to metaphysicians who are not biologically focused, but (...)
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  12. Grounding Knowledge and Normative Valuation in Agent-Based Action and Scientific Commitment.Catherine Elizabeth Kendig - 2018 - In Hauke Riesch, Nathan Emmerich & Steven Wainwright (eds.), Philosophies and Sociologies of Bioethics: Crossing the Divides. Cham, Switzerland: pp. 41-64.
    Philosophical investigation in synthetic biology has focused on the knowledge-seeking questions pursued, the kind of engineering techniques used, and on the ethical impact of the products produced. However, little work has been done to investigate the processes by which these epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical forms of inquiry arise in the course of synthetic biology research. An attempt at this work relying on a particular area of synthetic biology will be the aim of this chapter. I focus on the reengineering of (...)
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  13. The Evolution Concept: The Concept Evolution.Agustin Ostachuk - 2018 - Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 14 (3):354-378.
    This is an epistemologically-driven history of the concept of evolution. Starting from its inception, this work will follow the development of this pregnant concept. However, in contradistinction to previous attempts, the objective will not be the identification of the different meanings it adopted through history, but conversely, it will let the concept to be unfolded, to be explicated and to express its own inner potentialities. The underlying thesis of the present work is, therefore, that the path that leads to the (...)
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  14. Organisms as Persisters.Subrena E. Smith - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (14).
    This paper addresses the question of what organisms are and therefore what kinds of biological entities qualify as organisms. For some time now, the concept of organismality has been eclipsed by the notion of individuality. Biological individuals are those systems that are units of selection. I develop a conception of organismality that does not rely on evolutionary considerations, but instead draws on development and ecology. On this account, organismality and individuality can come apart. Organisms, in my view, are as Godfrey-Smith (...)
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  15. Stem Cell Lineages: Between Cell and Organism.Melinda Bonnie Fagan - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (6).
    Ontologies of living things are increasingly grounded on the concepts and practices of current life science. Biological development is a process, undergone by living things, which begins with a single cell and (in an important class of cases) ends with formation of a multicellular organism. The process of development is thus prima facie central for ideas about biological individuality and organismality. However, recent accounts of these concepts do not engage developmental biology. This paper aims to fill the gap, proposing the (...)
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  16. Evolution of Individuality: A Case Study in the Volvocine Green Algae.Erik R. Hanschen, Dinah R. Davison, Zachariah I. Grochau-Wright & Richard E. Michod - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (3).
    All disciplines must define their basic units and core processes. In evolutionary biology, the core process is natural selection and the basic unit of selection and adaptation is the individual. To operationalize the theory of natural selection we must count individuals, as they are the bearers of fitness. While canonical individuals have often been taken to be multicellular organisms, the hierarchy of life shows that new kinds of individuals have evolved. A variety of criteria have been used to define biological (...)
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  17. The Ethics of Eating as a Human Organism: A Bergsonian Analysis of the Misrecognition of Life.Caleb Ward - 2017 - In Mary C. Rawlinson & Caleb Ward (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics. London: Routledge. pp. 48-58.
    Conventional ethics of how humans should eat often ignore that human life is itself a form of organic activity. Using Henri Bergson’s notions of intellect and intuition, this chapter brings a wider perspective of the human organism to the ethical question of how humans appropriate life for nutriment. The intellect’s tendency to instrumentalize living things as though they were inert seems to subtend the moral failures evident in practices such as industrial animal agriculture. Using the case study of Temple Grandin’s (...)
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  18. The Principle of Life: from Aristotelian Psyche to Drieschian Entelechy.Agustin Ostachuk - 2016 - Ludus Vitalis 24 (45):37-59.
    Is life a simple result of a conjunction of physico-chemical processes? Can be reduced to a mere juxtaposition of spatially determined events? What epistemology or world-view allows us to comprehend it? Aristotle built a novel philosophical system in which nature is a dynamical totality which is in constant movement. Life is a manifestation of it, and is formed and governed by the psyche. Psyche is the organizational principle of the different biological levels: nutritive, perceptive and intelective. Driesch's crucial experiment provided (...)
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  19. The Return of the Organism as a Fundamental Explanatory Concept in Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (5):347-359.
    Although it may seem like a truism to assert that biology is the science that studies organisms, during the second half of the twentieth century the organism category disappeared from biological theory. Over the past decade, however, biology has begun to witness the return of the organism as a fundamental explanatory concept. There are three major causes: (a) the realization that the Modern Synthesis does not provide a fully satisfactory understanding of evolution; (b) the growing awareness of the limits of (...)
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  20. The Machine Conception of the Organism in Development and Evolution: A Critical Analysis.Daniel J. Nicholson - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 48:162-174.
    This article critically examines one of the most prevalent metaphors in modern biology, namely the machine conception of the organism (MCO). Although the fundamental differences between organisms and machines make the MCO an inadequate metaphor for conceptualizing living systems, many biologists and philosophers continue to draw upon the MCO or tacitly accept it as the standard model of the organism. This paper analyses the specific difficulties that arise when the MCO is invoked in the study of development and evolution. In (...)
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  21. The Organism as Ontological Go-Between. Hybridity, Boundaries and Degrees of Reality in its Conceptual History.Charles T. Wolfe - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 1:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.shps.
    The organism is neither a discovery like the circulation of the blood or the glycogenic function of the liver, nor a particular biological theory like epigenesis or preformationism. It is rather a concept which plays a series of roles – sometimes overt, sometimes masked – throughout the history of biology, and frequently in very normative ways, also shifting between the biological and the social. Indeed, it has often been presented as a key-concept in life science and the ‘theorization’ of Life, (...)
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  22. Biological Explanations, Realism, Ontology, and Categories.Matthew J. Barker - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):617-622.
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  23. The Mismeasure of Machine: Synthetic Biology and the Trouble with Engineering Metaphors.Maarten Boudry & Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (4):660-668.
    The scientific study of living organisms is permeated by machine and design metaphors. Genes are thought of as the ‘‘blueprint’’ of an organism, organisms are ‘‘reverse engineered’’ to discover their func- tionality, and living cells are compared to biochemical factories, complete with assembly lines, transport systems, messenger circuits, etc. Although the notion of design is indispensable to think about adapta- tions, and engineering analogies have considerable heuristic value (e.g., optimality assumptions), we argue they are limited in several important respects. In (...)
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  24. Integrating History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences in Practice to Enhance Science Education: Swammerdam’s Historia Insectorum Generalis and the Case of the Water Flea.Catherine Kendig - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (8):1939-1961.
    Abstract: Hasok Chang (Sci Educ 20:317–341, 2011) shows how the recovery of past experimental knowledge, the physical replication of historical experiments, and the extension of recovered knowledge can increase scientific understanding. These activities can also play an important role in both science and history and philosophy of science education. In this paper I describe the implementation of an integrated learning project that I initiated, organized, and structured to complement a course in history and philosophy of the life sciences (HPLS). The (...)
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  25. En Kropslig Kultur Historie - om omverdens relationen".Maria Brincker - 2012 - In E. O. Pedersen & A.-M. S. Christensen (eds.), Mennesket - En Introduktion Til Filosofisk Antropologi. Systime. pp. 197-216.
    This chapter deals with the way our psychology and actions a scaffolded by their environment but also the tensions that can appear between individual and environment, both at the level of biology and culture. The chapter is grounded in an analysis of the early 20th century theoretical biologist Jacob von Uexkull and his notion of "Umwelt" or "surround world". But also raises the question of whether organisms fit their environment as neatly as Uexkull and many later thinkers have proposed or (...)
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  26. Biological-Mereological Coincidence.Judith K. Crane - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (2):309-325.
    This paper presents and defends an account of the coincidence of biological organisms with mereological sums of their material components. That is, an organism and the sum of its material components are distinct material objects existing in the same place at the same time. Instead of relying on historical or modal differences to show how such coincident entities are distinct, this paper argues that there is a class of physiological properties of biological organisms that their coincident mereological sums do not (...)
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  27. Chance Between Holism and Reductionism: Tensions in the Conceptualisation of Life.Charles T. Wolfe - 2012 - Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology.
    In debates between holism and reductionism in biology, from the early 20th century to more recent re-enactments involving genetic reductionism, developmental systems theory, or systems biology, the role of chance – the presence of theories invoking chance as a strong explanatory principle – is hardly ever acknowledged. Conversely, Darwinian models of chance and selection (Dennett 1995, Kupiec 1996, Kupiec 2009) sit awkwardly with reductionist and holistic concepts, which they alternately challenge or approve of. I suggest that the juxtaposition of chance (...)
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  28. Neural Correlates of Color-Selective Metacontrast in Human Early Retinotopic Areas.Kiyohiro Maeda, Hiroki Yamamoto, Masaki Fukunaga, Masahior Umeda, Chuzo Tanaka & Yoshimichi Ejima - 2010 - Journal of Neurophysiology 104:2291-2301.
    Metacontrast is a visual illusion in which the visibility of a target stimulus is virtually lost when immediately followed by a nonoverlapping mask stimulus. For a colored target, metacontrast is color-selective, with target visibility markedly reduced when the mask and target are the same color, but only slightly reduced when the colors differ. This study investigated neural correlates of color-selective metacontrast for cone-opponent red and green stimuli in the human V1, V2, and V3 using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Neural activity (...)
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  29. What is an Organism? An Immunological Answer.Thomas Pradeu - 2010 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 32 (2-3):247-267.
    The question “What is an organism?”, formerly considered as essential in biology, has now been increasingly replaced by a larger question, “What is a biological individual?”. On the grounds that i) individuation is theory-dependent, and ii) physiology does not offer a theory, biologists and philosophers of biology have claimed that it is the theory of evolution by natural selection which tells us what counts as a biological individual. Here I show that one physiological field, immunology, offers a theory, which makes (...)
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  30. Do Organisms Have an Ontological Status?Charles T. Wolfe - 2010 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 32 (2-3):195-232.
    The category of ‘organism’ has an ambiguous status: is it scientific or is it philosophical? Or, if one looks at it from within the relatively recent field or sub-field of philosophy of biology, is it a central, or at least legitimate category therein, or should it be dispensed with? In any case, it has long served as a kind of scientific “bolstering” for a philosophical train of argument which seeks to refute the “mechanistic” or “reductionist” trend, which has been perceived (...)
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  31. Naturalismus und Biologie.Geert Keil - 2007 - In Ludger Honnefelder & Matthias C. Schmidt (eds.), Naturalismus als Paradigma. Berlin University Press. pp. 76-85.
    Einleitung Sind wir heute alle Naturalisten? Drei Arten des Naturalismus in der theoretischen Philosophie Metaphysischer Naturalismus Scientia mensura-Naturalismus Analytischer Naturalismus Naturalismus mit oder ohne Leitwissenschaft Biologischer Naturalismus Evolutionärer Naturalismus .
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  32. Sechzehn Tage: Wann Beginnt Ein Menschliches Leben?Barry Smith & Berit Brogaard - 2006 - In Guido Imaguire & Christine Schneider (eds.), Untersuchungen zur Ontologie. Munich: Philosophia. pp. 3-40.
    Der Abschluß der Gastrulation, der gleichzeitig auch den Anfang der Neurulation bedeutet, ist die zeitliche Grenze, die Beginn eines menschlichen Individuums markiert. Oft wird behauptet, daß jegliche natürliche Veränderung stetig ist. Wie ist es dann aber möglich, eine zeitliche Grenze auszuzeichnen, an der ein menschliches Lebewesen zu existieren beginnt? Man beachte, was geschieht, wenn wir vom Thema zeitlicher Unstetigkeit zum räumlichen übergehen. Lebewesen haben räumliche Grenzen (wie sie durch ihre Haut geformt wird). Die letzteren sind genuine Diskontinuitäten, auch angesichts der (...)
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  33. Sixteen Days.Barry Smith & Berit Brogaard - 2003 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 28 (1):45 – 78.
    When does a human being begin to exist? We argue that it is possible, through a combination of biological fact and philosophical analysis, to provide a definitive answer to this question. We lay down a set of conditions for being a human being, and we determine when, in the course of normal fetal development, these conditions are first satisfied. Issues dealt with along the way include: modes of substance-formation, twinning, the nature of the intra-uterine environment, and the nature of the (...)
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  34. Reflections on a Theory of Organisms: Holism in Biology.Walter M. Elsasser - 1987 - Published for the Johns Hopkins Dept. Of Earth and Planetary Sciences by the Johns Hopkins University Press.
    Are living organisms--as Descartes argued--just machines? Or is the nature of life such that it can never be fully explained by mechanistic models? In this thought-provoking and controversial book, eminent geophysicist Walter M. Elsasser argues that the behavior of living organisms cannot be reduced to physico-chemical causality. Suggesting that molecular biology today is at the same point as Newtonian physics on the eve of the quantum revolution, Elsasser lays the foundation for a theoretical biology that points the way toward a (...)
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