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Philosophy of Microbiology

Cambridge University Press (2014)

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  1. 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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  • Letting Go of “Natural Kind”: Toward a Multidimensional Framework of Nonarbitrary Classification.David Ludwig - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (1):31-52.
    This article uses the case study of ethnobiological classification to develop a positive and a negative thesis about the state of natural kind debates. On the one hand, I argue that current accounts of natural kinds can be integrated in a multidimensional framework that advances understanding of classificatory practices in ethnobiology. On the other hand, I argue that such a multidimensional framework does not leave any substantial work for the notion “natural kind” and that attempts to formulate a general account (...)
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  • Philosophy of Cell Biology.William Bechtel & Andrew Bollhagen - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Understanding Viruses: Philosophical Investigations.Thomas Pradeu, Gladys Kostyrka & John Dupré - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 59:57-63.
    Viruses have been virtually absent from philosophy of biology. In this editorial introduction, we explain why we think viruses are philosophically important. We focus on six issues, and we show how they relate to classic questions of philosophy of biology and even general philosophy.
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  • Philosophy of Immunology.Bartlomiej Swiatczak & Alfred I. Tauber - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2020.
    Philosophy of immunology is a subfield of philosophy of biology dealing with ontological and epistemological issues related to the studies of the immune system. While speculative investigations and abstract analyses have always been part of immune theorizing, until recently philosophers have largely ignored immunology. Yet the implications for understanding the philosophical basis of organismal functions framed by immunity offer new perspectives on fundamental questions of biology and medicine. Developed in the context of history of medicine, theoretical biology, and medical anthropology, (...)
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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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  • Revamping the Metaphysics of Ethnobiological Classification.David Ludwig - 2018 - Current Anthropology 59 (4):415-438.
    Ethnobiology has a long tradition of metaphysical debates about the “naturalness,” “objectivity”, “reality”, and “universality” of classifications. Especially the work of Brent Berlin has been influential in developing a “convergence metaphysics” that explains cross-cultural similarities of knowledge systems through shared recognition of objective discontinuities in nature. Despite its influence on the development of the field, convergence metaphysics has largely fallen out of favor as contemporary ethnobiologists tend to emphasize the locality and diversity of classificatory practices. The aim of this article (...)
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  • The Porosity of Autonomy: Social and Biological Constitution of the Patient in Biomedicine.Jonathan Beever & Nicolae Morar - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics 16 (2):34-45.
    The nature and role of the patient in biomedicine comprise issues central to bioethical inquiry. Given its developmental history grounded firmly in a backlash against 20th-century cases of egregious human subjects abuse, contemporary medical bioethics has come to rely on a fundamental assumption: the unit of care is the autonomous self-directing patient. In this article we examine first the structure of the feminist social critique of autonomy. Then we show that a parallel argument can be made against relational autonomy as (...)
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  • Considering Intra-Individual Genetic Heterogeneity to Understand Biodiversity.Eva Boon - 2019 - In From Assessing to Conserving Biodiversity. Cham: Springer. pp. 219-232.
    In this chapter, I am concerned with the concept of Intra-individual Genetic Hetereogeneity (IGH) and its potential influence on biodiversity estimates. Definitions of biological individuality are often indirectly dependent on genetic sampling -and vice versa. Genetic sampling typically focuses on a particular locus or set of loci, found in the the mitochondrial, chloroplast or nuclear genome. If ecological function or evolutionary individuality can be defined on the level of multiple divergent genomes, as I shall argue is the case in IGH, (...)
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  • 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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  • Modern Synthesis is the Light of Microbial Genomics.Austin Booth, Carlos Mariscal & W. Ford Doolittle - 2016 - Annual Reviews of Microbiology 70 (1):279-297.
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  • Microorganisms as Scaffolds of Host Individuality: An Eco-Immunity Account of the Holobiont.Lynn Chiu & Gérard Eberl - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):819-837.
    There is currently a great debate about whether the holobiont, i.e. a multicellular host and its residential microorganisms, constitutes a biological individual. We propose that resident microorganisms have a general and important role in the individuality of the host organism, not the holobiont. Drawing upon the Equilibrium Model of Immunity, we argue that microorganisms are scaffolds of immune capacities and processes that determine the constituency and persistence of the host organism. A scaffolding perspective accommodates the contingency and heterogeneity of resident (...)
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  • 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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  • Species.Marc Ereshefsky - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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