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  1. Ask Not "What is an Individual?".C. Kenneth Waters - 2018 - In O. Bueno, R. Chen & M. B. Fagan (eds.), Individuation across Experimental and Theoretical Sciences. Oxford University Press.
    Philosophers of biology typically pose questions about individuation by asking “what is an individual?” For example, we ask, “what is an individual species”, “what is an individual organism”, and “what is an individual gene?” In the first part of this chapter, I present my account of the gene concept and how it is used in investigative practices in order to motivate a more pragmatic approach. Instead of asking “what is a gene?”, I ask: “how do biologists individuate genes?”, “for what (...)
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  • Philosophy Moves.David Kelley - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    In this paper, I introduce the notion of ‘philosophy moves’: prominent tropes featured in contemporary academic philosophy. Moves are more than patterns – they are tools for advancing and enriching philosophical debates. By recognizing these patterns in the philosophical literature, we collect an ensemble of moves for deployment in novel contexts, each with the potential to forge new paths of philosophical investigation through a given topic. The moves featured in this paper are constructive and progressive, with the potential to push (...)
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  • Facts, Conventions, and the Levels of Selection.Pierrick Bourrat - 2021 - Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    Debates concerning the units and levels of selection have persisted for over fifty years. One major question in this literature is whether units and levels of selection are genuine, in the sense that they are objective features of the world, or merely reflect the interests and goals of an observer. Scientists and philosophers have proposed a range of answers to this question. This Element introduces this literature and proposes a novel contribution. It defends a realist stance and offers a way (...)
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  • The ‘Whole’ Truth about Biological Individuality in Kant’s Account of Living Nature.Anna Frammartino Wilks - 2023 - Kantian Review 28 (3):429-446.
    Given the central place organisms occupy in Kant’s account of living nature, it might seem unlikely that his claims about biological wholes could be relevant to current debates over the problem of biological individuality. These debates acknowledge the multiple realizability of biological individuality in vastly different forms, including parts of organisms and complex groups of organisms at various levels of the biological hierarchy, sparking much controversy in attempts to characterize a biological individual. I argue that, far from being irrelevant to (...)
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  • Broadening the problem agenda of biological individuality: individual differences, uniqueness and temporality.Rose Trappes & Marie I. Kaiser - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (2):1-28.
    Biological individuality is a notoriously thorny topic for biologists and philosophers of biology. In this paper we argue that biological individuality presents multiple, interconnected questions for biologists and philosophers that together form a problem agenda. Using a case study of an interdisciplinary research group in ecology, behavioral and evolutionary biology, we claim that a debate on biological individuality that seeks to account for diverse practices in the biological sciences should be broadened to include and give prominence to questions about uniqueness (...)
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  • What is a hologenomic adaptation? Emergent individuality and inter-identity in multispecies systems.Javier Suárez & Vanessa Triviño - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 187 (11).
    Contemporary biological research has suggested that some host–microbiome multispecies systems (referred to as “holobionts”) can in certain circumstances evolve as unique biological individual, thus being a unit of selection in evolution. If this is so, then it is arguably the case that some biological adaptations have evolved at the level of the multispecies system, what we call hologenomic adaptations. However, no research has yet been devoted to investigating their nature, or how these adaptations can be distinguished from adaptations at the (...)
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  • 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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  • Pathways to pluralism about biological individuality.Beckett Sterner - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):609-628.
    What are the prospects for a monistic view of biological individuality given the multiple epistemic roles the concept must satisfy? In this paper, I examine the epistemic adequacy of two recent accounts based on the capacity to undergo natural selection. One is from Ellen Clarke, and the other is by Peter Godfrey-Smith. Clarke’s position reflects a strong monism, in that she aims to characterize individuality in purely functional terms and refrains from privileging any specific material properties as important in their (...)
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  • Individuating population lineages: a new genealogical criterion.Beckett Sterner - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (5):683-703.
    Contemporary biology has inherited two key assumptions from the Modern Synthesis about the nature of population lineages: sexual reproduction is the exemplar for how individuals in population lineages inherit traits from their parents, and random mating is the exemplar for reproductive interaction. While these assumptions have been extremely fruitful for a number of fields, such as population genetics and phylogenetics, they are increasingly unviable for studying the full diversity and evolution of life. I introduce the “mixture” account of population lineages (...)
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  • How Research on Microbiomes is Changing Biology: A Discussion on the Concept of the Organism.Adrian Stencel & Agnieszka M. Proszewska - 2018 - Foundations of Science 23 (4):603-620.
    Multicellular organisms contain numerous symbiotic microorganisms, collectively called microbiomes. Recently, microbiomic research has shown that these microorganisms are responsible for the proper functioning of many of the systems of multicellular organisms. This has inclined some scholars to argue that it is about time to reconceptualise the organism and to develop a concept that would place the greatest emphasis on the vital role of microorganisms in the life of plants and animals. We believe that, unfortunately, there is a problem with this (...)
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  • Do Somatic Cells Really Sacrifice Themselves? Why an Appeal to Coercion May be a Helpful Strategy in Explaining the Evolution of Multicellularity.Adrian Stencel & Javier Suárez - 2021 - Biological Theory 16 (2):102-113.
    An understanding of the factors behind the evolution of multicellularity is one of today’s frontiers in evolutionary biology. This is because multicellular organisms are made of one subset of cells with the capacity to transmit genes to the next generation and another subset responsible for maintaining the functionality of the organism, but incapable of transmitting genes to the next generation. The question arises: why do somatic cells sacrifice their lives for the sake of germline cells? How is germ/soma separation maintained? (...)
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  • Exploding Individuals: Engaging Indigenous Logic and Decolonizing Science.Rebekah Sinclair - 2020 - Hypatia 35 (1):58-74.
    Despite emerging attention to Indigenous philosophies both within and outside of feminism, Indigenous logics remain relatively underexplored and underappreciated. By amplifying the voices of recent Indigenous philosophies and literatures, I seek to demonstrate that Indigenous logic is a crucial aspect of Indigenous resurgence as well as political and ethical resistance. Indigenous philosophies provide alternatives to the colonial, masculinist tendencies of classical logic in the form of paraconsistent—many-valued—logics. Specifically, when Indigenous logics embrace the possibility of true contradictions, they highlight aspects of (...)
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  • On radical solutions in the philosophy of biology: What does “individuals thinking” actually solve?Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3389-3411.
    The philosophy of biology is witnessing an increasing enthusiasm for what can be called “individuals thinking”. Individuals thinking is a perspective on the metaphysics of biological entities according to which conceiving of them as individuals rather than kinds enables us to expose ongoing metaphysical debates as focusing on the wrong question, and to achieve better accounts of the metaphysics of biological entities. In this paper, I examine two cases of individuals thinking, the claim that species are individuals and the claim (...)
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  • The many faces of biological individuality.Thomas Pradeu - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):761-773.
    Biological individuality is a major topic of discussion in biology and philosophy of biology. Recently, several objections have been raised against traditional accounts of biological individuality, including the objections of monism, theory-centrism, ahistoricity, disciplinary isolationism, and the multiplication of conceptual uncertainties. In this introduction, I will examine the current philosophical landscape about biological individuality, and show how the contributions gathered in this special issue address these five objections. Overall, the aim of this issue is to offer a more diverse, unifying, (...)
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  • Organisms or biological individuals? Combining physiological and evolutionary individuality.Thomas Pradeu - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):797-817.
    The definition of biological individuality is one of the most discussed topics in philosophy of biology, but current debate has focused almost exclusively on evolution-based accounts. Moreover, several participants in this debate consider the notions of a biological individual and an organism as equivalent. In this paper, I show that the debates would be considerably enriched and clarified if philosophers took into account two elements. First, physiological fields are crucial for the understanding of biological individuality. Second, the category of biological (...)
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  • Starting small: Using little microbes to tackle big philosophical problems.Makmiller Pedroso - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 53:126-128.
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  • Natural Kinds: The Expendables.François Papale & David Montminy - 2023 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 53 (2):103-120.
    Theoreticians that defend a form of realism regarding natural kinds minimally entertain the belief that the world features divisions into kinds and that the natural kind concept is a useful tool for philosophy of science. The objective of this paper is to challenge these assumptions. First, we challenge realism toward natural kinds by showing that the main arguments for their existence, which rely on the epistemic success of natural kinds, are unsatisfactory. Second, we show that, whether they exist or not, (...)
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  • Biological Individuality and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis: A Philosophical Conundrum in a (New) Biological Focus.Íñigo Ongay de Felipe - 2020 - Filozofia Nauki 28 (3):25-45.
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  • The Relation between Kin and Multilevel Selection: An Approach Using Causal Graphs.Samir Okasha - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (2):435-470.
    Kin selection and multilevel selection are alternative approaches for studying the evolution of social behaviour, the relation between which has long been a source of controversy. Many recent theorists regard the two approaches as ultimately equivalent, on the grounds that gene frequency change can be correctly expressed using either. However, this shows only that the two are formally equivalent, not that they offer equally good causal representations of the evolutionary process. This article articulates the notion of an ‘adequate causal representation’ (...)
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  • On the very idea of biological individuality.Samir Okasha - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
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  • How many ways can you die? Multiple biological deaths as a consequence of the multiple concepts of an organism.Piotr Grzegorz Nowak & Adrian Stencel - 2022 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 43 (2):127-154.
    According to the mainstream position in the bioethical definition of death debate, death is to be equated with the cessation of an organism. Given such a perspective, some bioethicists uphold the position that brain-dead patients are dead, while others claim that they are alive. Regardless of the specific opinion on the status of brain-dead patients, the mere bioethical concept of death, according to many bioethicists, has the merit of being unanimous and univocal, as well as grounded in biology. In the (...)
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  • what is a lineage?Celso Neto - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5):1099-1110.
    This article defends lineage pluralism; the view that biological lineages are not a single, unified type of entity. I analyze aspects of evolutionary theory, phylogenetics, and developmental biology to show that these areas appeal to distinct notions of lineage. I formulate three arguments for lineage pluralism. These arguments undercut the main motivations for lineage monism; the view that biological lineages are a single, unified type of entity. Although this view is rarely made explicit, it is often assumed in philosophy and (...)
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  • Biological Individuality and the Foetus Problem.William Morgan - 2022 - Erkenntnis 89 (2):799-816.
    The Problem of Biological Individuality is the problem of how to count organisms. Whilst counting organisms may seem easy, the biological world is full of difficult cases such as colonial siphonophores and aspen tree groves. One of the main solutions to the Problem of Biological Individuality is the Physiological Approach. Drawing on an argument made by Eric Olson in the personal identity debate, I argue that the Physiological Approach faces a metaphysical problem - the ‘Foetus Problem’. This paper illustrates how (...)
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  • Biological Individuality and the Foetus Problem.William Morgan - 2022 - Erkenntnis 89 (2):799-816.
    The Problem of Biological Individuality is the problem of how to count organisms. Whilst counting organisms may seem easy, the biological world is full of difficult cases such as colonial siphonophores and aspen tree groves. One of the main solutions to the Problem of Biological Individuality is the Physiological Approach. Drawing on an argument made by Eric Olson in the personal identity debate, I argue that the Physiological Approach faces a metaphysical problem - the ‘Foetus Problem’. This paper illustrates how (...)
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  • One or two? A Process View of pregnancy.Anne Sophie Meincke - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (5):1495-1521.
    How many individuals are present where we see a pregnant individual? Within a substance ontological framework, there are exactly two possible answers to this question. The standard answer—two individuals—is typically championed by scholars endorsing the predominant Containment View of pregnancy, according to which the foetus resides in the gestating organism like in a container. The alternative answer—one individual—has recently found support in the Parthood View, according to which the foetus is a part of the gestating organism. Here I propose a (...)
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  • Contingency and Individuality: A Plurality of Evolutionary Individuality Types.Alison K. McConwell - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1104-1116.
    Recently, philosophers have sought to determine the nature of individuals relevant to evolution by natural selection or evolutionary individuals. The Evolutionary Contingency Thesis is a claim about evolution that emphasizes the role of contingency or dependency relations and chance-based factors in how evolution unfolds. In this article, I argue that if we take evolutionary contingency seriously, then we should be pluralists about the types of individuals in selection.
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  • Indexically Structured Ecological Communities.Christopher Hunter Lean - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (3):501-522.
    Ecological communities are seldom, if ever, biological individuals. They lack causal boundaries as the populations that constitute communities are not congruent and rarely have persistent functional roles regulating the communities’ higher-level properties. Instead we should represent ecological communities indexically, by identifying ecological communities via the network of weak causal interactions between populations that unfurl from a starting set of populations. This precisification of ecological communities helps identify how community properties remain invariant, and why they have robust characteristics. This respects the (...)
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  • Biological Individuality and Scientific Practice.Karen Kovaka - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1092-1103.
    I consider the relationship between scientific practice and the philosophical debate surrounding biological individuality. I argue for the sensitivity account, on which biologists do not require a resolution to the individuality debate. This view puts me in disagreement with much of the literature on biological individuality, where it has become common to claim that there is a relationship of dependence between biologists’ conceptions of individuality and the quality of their empirical work.
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  • Agriculture increases individual fitness.Karen Kovaka, Carlos Santana, Raj Patel, Erol Akçay & Michael Weisberg - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39.
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  • Functions and Health at the Interface of Biology and Technology.Elselijn Kingma - 2020 - Noûs 54 (1):182-203.
    Synthetic biology promises to eliminate the distinction between biology and engineering by delivering a philosophically interesting new kind of entity: a biological organism that is wholly designed and constructed by humans. The possibility of such organisms raises interesting questions in three domains: the analysis of (1) biological functions, (2) engineering functions, and (3) health and disease. This paper identifies and systematically answers these questions. This does not only establish how we should think about functions and health and disease in synthetic (...)
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  • Biological Individuality, Pregnancy, and (Mammalian) Reproduction.Elselijn Kingma - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (5):1037-1048.
    Mammals are usually considered unproblematic as biological individuals. This article contends the opposite. Once we consider pregnancy, criteria for biological individuality are not easily applicab...
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  • 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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  • Do heritable immune responses extend physiological individuality?Sophie Juliane Veigl - 2022 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 44 (4):1-20.
    Immunology and its philosophy are a primary source for thinking about biological individuality. Through its discriminatory function, the immune system is believed to delineate organism and environment within one generation, thus defining the physiological individual. Based on the paradigmatic instantiations of immune systems, immune interactions and, thus, the physiological individual are believed to last only for one generation. However, in recent years, transgenerationally persisting immune responses have been reported in several phyla, but the consequences for physiological individuality have not yet (...)
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  • The Evolution of Ecosystem Phenotypes.Sébastien Ibanez - 2020 - Biological Theory 15 (2):91-106.
    Evolution by natural selection has been extended to several supraorganismic levels, but whether it can apply to ecosystems remains controversial on two main counts. First, local ecosystems are loosely individuated, so that it is unclear how they manifest heredity and fitness. Second, even if they did, the meta-ecosystem formed by this population of local ecosystems will also suffer from a very low degree of cohesion, which will jeopardize any ENS. We suggest a way to overcome both issues, focusing on ecosystem (...)
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  • 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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  • How Many Organisms during a Pregnancy?Jonathan Grose - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (5):1049-1060.
    Mammalian placental pregnancy is a neglected problem case for theories of organismality. This example is closer to home than those typically discussed within philosophy of biology. I apply evolutio...
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  • Who is the biological patient? A new gradational and dynamic model for one health medicine.Yael Friedman - 2022 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 44 (4):1-27.
    One Health medicine aims to improve health by focusing on the relations between the health of humans, animals, and the environment. However, One Health does not provide a clear idea of these relations, which are still represented as conceptually separated and not as one health, as the name implies. Inspired by holobiont research, I suggest a new model and conceptual framework for One Health that expands the notion of the biological patient by providing a gradational and dynamic understanding of environments, (...)
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  • Animalism and the Persistence of Human Organisms.John Dupré - 2014 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (S1):6-23.
    Humans are a kind of animal, and it is a natural and sensible idea that the way to understand what it is for a human person to persist over time is to reflect on what it is for an animal to persist. This paper accepts this strategy. However, especially in the light of a range of recent biological findings, the persistence of animals turns out to be much more problematic than is generally supposed. The main philosophical premise of the paper (...)
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  • Token physicalism and functional individuation.James DiFrisco - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):309-329.
    Token physicalism is often viewed as a modest and unproblematic physicalist commitment, as contrasted with type physicalism. This paper argues that the prevalence of functional individuation in biology creates serious problems for token physicalism, because the latter requires that biological entities can be individuated physically and without reference to biological functioning. After characterizing the main philosophical roles for token physicalism, I describe the distinctive uses of functional individuation in models of biological processes. I then introduce some requirements on token identity (...)
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  • Kinds of Biological Individuals: Sortals, Projectibility, and Selection.DiFrisco James - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):845-875.
    Individuality is an important concept in biology, yet there are many non-equivalent criteria of individuality expressed in different kinds of biological individuals. This article evaluates these different kinds in terms of their capacity to support explanatory generalizations over the systems they individuate. Viewing the problem of individuality from this perspective promotes a splitting strategy in which different kinds make different epistemic trade-offs that suit them for different explanatory roles. I argue that evolutionary individuals, interpreted as forming a functional kind, face (...)
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  • Did Human Culture Emerge in a Cultural Evolutionary Transition in Individuality?Dinah R. Davison, Claes Andersson, Richard E. Michod & Steven L. Kuhn - 2021 - Biological Theory 16 (4):213-236.
    Evolutionary Transitions in Individuality have been responsible for the major transitions in levels of selection and individuality in natural history, such as the origins of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, multicellular organisms, and eusocial insects. The integrated hierarchical organization of life thereby emerged as groups of individuals repeatedly evolved into new and more complex kinds of individuals. The Social Protocell Hypothesis proposes that the integrated hierarchical organization of human culture can also be understood as the outcome of an ETI—one that produced (...)
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  • Multi-Level Selection and the Explanatory Value of Mathematical Decompositions.Christopher Clarke - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (4):1025-1055.
    Do multi-level selection explanations of the evolution of social traits deepen the understanding provided by single-level explanations? Central to the former is a mathematical theorem, the multi-level Price decomposition. I build a framework through which to understand the explanatory role of such non-empirical decompositions in scientific practice. Applying this general framework to the present case places two tasks on the agenda. The first task is to distinguish the various ways of suppressing within-collective variation in fitness, and moreover to evaluate their (...)
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  • Levels of selection in biofilms: multispecies biofilms are not evolutionary individuals.Ellen Clarke - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (2):191-212.
    Microbes are generally thought of as unicellular organisms, but we know that many microbes live as parts of biofilms—complex, surface-attached microbial communities numbering millions of cells. Some authors have recently argued in favour of reconceiving biofilms as biological entities in their own right. In particular, some have claimed that multispecies biofilms are evolutionary individuals : 10126–10132 2015). Against this view, I defend the conservative consensus that selection acts primarily upon microbial cells.
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  • A levels-of-selection approach to evolutionary individuality.Ellen Clarke - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):893-911.
    What changes when an evolutionary transition in individuality takes place? Many different answers have been given, in respect of different cases of actual transition, but some have suggested a general answer: that a major transition is a change in the extent to which selection acts at one hierarchical level rather than another. The current paper evaluates some different ways to develop this general answer as a way to characterise the property ‘evolutionary individuality’; and offers a justification of the option taken (...)
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  • Forces, friction and fractionation: Denis Walsh’s Organisms, agency, and evolution: 294 pp, Hardcover, ISBN: 1107122104. [REVIEW]Andrew Buskell & Adrian Currie - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1341-1353.
    In Denis Walsh’s Organisms, Agency, and Evolution, he argues that new developments in the science of biology motivate a radical change to our metaphysical picture of life: what he calls ‘Situated Darwinism’. The central claim is that we should take the biological world to be at base about organisms, and organisms in a fundamentally teleological sense. We critically examine Walsh’s arguments and suggest further developments.
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  • Multi-Level Semiosis: a Paradigm of Emergent Innovation.Luis Emilio Bruni & Franco Giorgi - 2016 - Biosemiotics 9 (3):307-318.
    In this introductory article to the special issue on Multi-level semiosis we attempt to stage the background for qualifying the notion of “multi-levelness” when considering communication processes and semiosis in all life forms, i.e. from the cellular to the organismic level. While structures are organized hierarchically, communication processes require a kind of processual organization that may be better described as being heterarchical. Theoretically, the challenge arises in the temporal domain, that is, in the developmental and evolutionary dimension of dynamic semiotic (...)
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  • Conjoined twinning & biological individuation.Alexandria Boyle - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2395-2415.
    In dicephalus conjoined twinning, it appears that two heads share a body; in cephalopagus, it appears that two bodies share a head. How many human animals are present in these cases? One answer is that there are two in both cases—conjoined twins are precisely that, conjoined twins. Another is that the number of humans corresponds to the number of bodies—so there is one in dicephalus and two in cephalopagus. I show that both of these answers are incorrect. Prominent accounts of (...)
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  • Multispecies individuals.Pierrick Bourrat & Paul E. Griffiths - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (2):33.
    We assess the arguments for recognising functionally integrated multispecies consortia as genuine biological individuals, including cases of so-called ‘holobionts’. We provide two examples in which the same core biochemical processes that sustain life are distributed across a consortium of individuals of different species. Although the same chemistry features in both examples, proponents of the holobiont as unit of evolution would recognize one of the two cases as a multispecies individual whilst they would consider the other as a compelling case of (...)
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  • A New Set of Criteria for Units of Selection.Pierrick Bourrat - 2022 - Biological Theory 17 (4):263-275.
    This article proposes two conditions to assess whether an entity at a level of description is a unit of selection qua interactor. These two conditions make it possible to (1) distinguish biologically relevant entities from arbitrary ones and (2) distinguish units that can _potentially_ enter a selection process from those that have already done so. I show that the classical approaches used in the literature on units and levels of selection do not fare well with respect to either or both (...)
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  • Kin Selection, Group Selection, and the Varieties of Population Structure.Jonathan Birch - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):259-286.
    Various results show the ‘formal equivalence’ of kin and group selectionist methodologies, but this does not preclude there being a real and useful distinction between kin and group selection processes. I distinguish individual- and population-centred approaches to drawing such a distinction, and I proceed to develop the latter. On the account I advance, the differences between kin and group selection are differences of degree in the structural properties of populations. A spatial metaphor provides a useful framework for thinking about these (...)
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