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  1. Making Microbes Matter: Essay Review of Maureen A. O’Malley’s Philosophy of Microbiology.Gregory J. Morgan, James Romph, Joshua L. Ross, Elizabeth Steward & Claire Szipszky - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):12.
    In a pioneering book, Philosophy of Microbiology, Maureen O’Malley argues for the philosophical importance of microbes through an examination of their impact on ecosystems, evolution, biological classification, collaborative behavior, and multicellular organisms. She identifies many understudied conceptual issues in the study of microbes. If philosophers follow her lead, the philosophy of biology will be expanded and enriched.
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  • Why We Should Care About Universal Biology.Carlos Mariscal & Leonore Fleming - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (2):121-130.
    Our understanding of the universe has grown rapidly in recent decades. We’ve discovered evidence of water in nearby planets, discovered planets outside our solar system, mapped the genomes of thousands of organisms, and probed the very origins and limits of life. The scientific perspective of life-as-it-could-be has expanded in part by research in astrobiology, synthetic biology, and artificial life. In the face of such scientific developments, we argue there is an ever-growing need for universal biology, life-as-it-must-be, the multidisciplinary study of (...)
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  • Life and Life Only: A Radical Alternative to Life Definitionism.Carlos Mariscal & W. Ford Doolittle - 2020 - Synthese 197 (7):2975-2989.
    To date, no definition of life has been unequivocally accepted by the scientific community. In frustration, some authors advocate alternatives to standard definitions. These include using a list of characteristic features, focusing on life’s effects, or categorizing biospheres rather than life itself; treating life as a fuzzy category, a process or a cluster of contingent properties; or advocating a ‘wait-and-see’ approach until other examples of life are created or discovered. But these skeptical, operational, and pluralistic approaches have intensified the debate, (...)
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  • It’s the Song, Not the Singer: An Exploration of Holobiosis and Evolutionary Theory.W. Ford Doolittle & Austin Booth - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (1):5-24.
    That holobionts are units of selection squares poorly with the observation that microbes are often recruited from the environment, not passed down vertically from parent to offspring, as required for collective reproduction. The taxonomic makeup of a holobiont’s microbial community may vary over its lifetime and differ from that of conspecifics. In contrast, biochemical functions of the microbiota and contributions to host biology are more conserved, with taxonomically variable but functionally similar microbes recurring across generations and hosts. To save what (...)
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  • How Microbes "Jeopardize" the Modern Synthesis.Aaron Novick & W. Ford Doolittle - 2019 - PLOS Genetics 5 (15):e1008166.
    This editorial introduces a series of review articles concerning the ways in which recent work on microbial evolution has both deepened and challenged the modern synthesis. The authors develop a framework for thinking about theory change in biology.
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