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  1. 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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  • The holobiont self: understanding immunity in context.Tamar Schneider - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (3):1-23.
    Both concepts of the holobiont and the immune system are at the heart of an ongoing scientific and philosophical examination concerning questions of the organism’s individuality and identity as well as the relations between organisms and their environment. Examining the holobiont, the question of boundaries and individuality is challenging because it is both an assemblage of organisms with physiological cohesive aspects. I discuss the concept of immunity and the immune system function from the holobiont perspective. Because of the host-microbial close (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Rethinking Individuality: The Dialectics of the Holobiont.Scott F. Gilbert & Alfred I. Tauber - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):839-853.
    Given immunity’s general role in the organism’s economy—both in terms of its internal environment as well as mediating its external relations—immune theory has expanded its traditional formulation of preserving individual autonomy to one that includes accounting for nutritional processes and symbiotic relationships that require immune tolerance. When such a full ecological alignment is adopted, the immune system becomes the mediator of both defensive and assimilative environmental intercourse, where a balance of immune rejection and tolerance governs the complex interactions of the (...)
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  • In Quest of 'Good' Medical Classification Systems.Lara K. Kutschenko - 2011 - Medicine Studies 3 (1):53-70.
    Medical classification systems aim to provide a manageable taxonomy for sorting diagnoses into their proper classes. The question, this paper wants to critically examine, is how to correctly systematise diseases within classification systems that are applied in a variety of different settings. ICD and DSM , the two major classification systems in medicine and psychiatry, will be the main subjects of this paper; however, the arguments are not restricted to these classification systems but point out general methodological and epistemological challenges (...)
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  • Functional Integration and Individuality in Prokaryotic Collective Organisations.Guglielmo Militello, Leonardo Bich & Alvaro Moreno - 2020 - Acta Biotheoretica (3):391-415.
    Both physiological and evolutionary criteria of biological individuality are underpinned by the idea that an individual is a functionally integrated whole. However, a precise account of functional integration has not been provided so far, and current notions are not developed in the details, especially in the case of composite systems. To address this issue, this paper focuses on the organisational dimension of two representative associations of prokaryotes: biofilms and the endosymbiosis between prokaryotes. Some critical voices have been raised against the (...)
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  • An Ontic Account of Explanatory Reduction in Biology.Marie I. Kaiser - 2012 - Köln: Kölner Hochschulschriften.
    Convincing disputes about explanatory reductionism in the philosophy of biology require a clear and precise understanding of what a reductive explanation in biology is. The central aim of this book is to provide such an account by revealing the features that determine the reductive character of a biological explanation. Chapters I-IV provide the ground, on which I can then, in Chapter V, develop my own account of explanatory reduction in biology: Chapter I reveals the meta-philosophical assumptions that underlie my analysis (...)
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  • Fish and Fishpond. An Ecological Reading of G.W. Leibniz’s Monadology §§ 63–70.Miguel Escribano-Cabeza - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (2):1-18.
    One of Leibniz’s most original ideas is his conception of the living individual as a hierarchical network of living beings whose relationships are essential to the proper functioning of its organic body. This idea is also valid to explain any existing order in nature that depends on the set of relationships of living beings that inhabit it. Both ideas are present in the conception of the natural world that Leibniz presents in his Monadology through his idea of biological infinitism. According (...)
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  • The Problem of Biological Individuality.Ellen Clarke - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (4):312-325.
    Darwin’s classic ‘Origin of Species’ (Darwin 1859) described forces of selection acting upon individuals, but there remains a great deal of controversy about what exactly the status and definition of a biological individual is. Recently some authors have argued that the individual is dispensable – that an inability to pin it down is not problematic because little rests on it anyway. The aim of this paper is to show that there is a real problem of biological individuality, and an urgent (...)
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  • The Organism in Developmental Systems Theory.Thomas Pradeu - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (3):216-222.
    In this paper, I address the question of what the Developmental Systems Theory (DST) aims at explaining. I distinguish two lines of thought in DST, one which deals specifically with development, and tries to explain the development of the individual organism, and the other which presents itself as a reconceptualization of evolution, and tries to explain the evolution of populations of developmental systems (organism-environment units). I emphasize that, despite the claiming of the contrary by DST proponents, there are two very (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Rethinking Cohesion and Species Individuality.Celso Neto - 2016 - Biological Theory 11 (3):01-12.
    According to the species-as-individuals thesis(hereafter S-A-I), species are cohesive entities. Barker and Wilson recently pointed out that the type of cohesion exhibited by species is fundamentally different from that of organisms (paradigmatic individuals), suggesting that species are homeostatic property cluster kinds. In this article, I propose a shift in how to approach cohesion in the context of S-A-I: instead of analyzing the different types of cohesion and questioning whether species have them, I focus on the role played by cohesion in (...)
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  • Animal Development, an Open-Ended Segment of Life.Alessandro Minelli - 2011 - Biological Theory 6 (1):4-15.
    No comprehensive theory of development is available yet. Traditionally, we regard the development of animals as a sequence of changes through which an adult multicellular animal is produced, starting from a single cell which is usually a fertilized egg, through increasingly complex stages. However, many phenomena that would not qualify as developmental according to these criteria would nevertheless qualify as developmental in that they imply nontrivial changes of form, and/or substantial changes in gene expression. A broad, comparative approach is badly (...)
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  • A Mixed Self: The Role of Symbiosis in Development.Thomas Pradeu - 2011 - Biological Theory 6 (1):80-88.
    Since the 1950s, the common view of development has been internalist: development is seen as the result of the unfolding of potentialities already present in the egg cell. In this paper I show that this view is incorrect, because of the crucial influence of the environment on development. I focus on a fascinating example, that of the role played by symbioses in development, especially bacterial symbioses, a phenomenon found in virtually all organisms. I claim that we must consequently modify our (...)
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  • Symbiosis, Selection, and Individuality.Austin Booth - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (5):657-673.
    A recent development in biology has been the growing acceptance that holobionts, entities comprised of symbiotic microbes and their host organisms, are widespread in nature. There is agreement that holobionts are evolved outcomes, but disagreement on how to characterize the operation of natural selection on them. The aim of this paper is to articulate the contours of the disagreement. I explain how two distinct foundational accounts of the process of natural selection give rise to competing views about evolutionary individuality.
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  • Why It Is Time To Move Beyond Nagelian Reduction.Marie I. Kaiser - 2012 - In D. Dieks, W. J. Gonzalez, S. Hartmann, M. Stöltzner & M. Weber (eds.), Probabilities, Laws, and Structures. The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective. Heidelberg, GER: Springer. pp. 255-272.
    In this paper I argue that it is finally time to move beyond the Nagelian framework and to break new ground in thinking about epistemic reduction in biology. I will do so, not by simply repeating all the old objections that have been raised against Ernest Nagel’s classical model of theory reduction. Rather, I grant that a proponent of Nagel’s approach can handle several of these problems but that, nevertheless, Nagel’s general way of thinking about epistemic reduction in terms of (...)
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  • Genidentity and Biological Processes.Thomas Pradeu - 2018 - In Daniel J. Nicholson & John Dupre (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. Oxford University Press.
    A crucial question for a process view of life is how to identify a process and how to follow it through time. The genidentity view can contribute decisively to this project. It says that the identity through time of an entity X is given by a well-identified series of continuous states of affairs. Genidentity helps address the problem of diachronic identity in the living world. This chapter describes the centrality of the concept of genidentity for David Hull and proposes an (...)
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  • The Organism in Developmental Systems Theory.Thomas Pradeu - 2009 - Biological Theory 5 (3):216-222.
    In this article, I address the question of what Developmental Systems Theory aims at explaining. I distinguish two lines of thought in DST, one that deals specifically with development and tries to explain the development of the individual organism, and the other that presents itself as a reconceptualization of evolution and tries to explain the evolution of populations of developmental systems. I emphasize that, despite the claim of the contrary by DST proponents, there are two very different definitions of the (...)
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  • Um Embrião não é um Indivíduo (An Embryo is not an Individual).Danilo Fraga Dantas - 2019 - Dissertatio 49:133-145.
    Um argumento recorrente contra a liberalização do aborto parte do pressuposto de que, desde o momento da fertilização, seres humanos são indivíduos (no sentido de serem algo que necessariamente ocorre em uma entidade apenas). Nesse artigo, argumento que esse não é um caso a partir da possibilidade de geminação monozigótica e do fato de identidades serem necessárias. Defendo as premissas do argumento e discuto as possíveis interpretações de sua conclusão. Argumento que a interpretação completa da conclusão desse argumento está em (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Pregnant Females as Historical Individuals: An Insight From the Philosophy of Evo-Devo.Laura Nuño de la Rosa, Mihaela Pavličev & Arantza Etxeberria - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    Criticisms of the “container” model of pregnancy picturing female and embryo as separate entities multiply in various philosophical and scientific contexts during the last decades. In this paper, we examine how this model underlies received views of pregnancy in evolutionary biology, in the characterization of the transition from oviparity to viviparity in mammals and in the selectionist explanations of pregnancy as an evolutionary strategy. In contrast, recent evo-devo studies on eutherian reproduction, including the role of inflammation and new maternal cell (...)
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  • An Account of Generous Action and Esteem in Pāli Buddhism.Nicholaos Jones - 2020 - International Journal of Buddhist Thought and Culture 30 (2):195-225.
    I propose an account of generous action in the Pāli Buddhist tradition, whereby generous actions are instances of giving in which the donor has esteem for the recipient of their giving. The account differs from recent Anglophone accounts of generous action. These tend to construe generous actions as instances of a donor freely offering a gift to the recipient for the sake of benefiting the recipient. Unlike the Buddhist account I propose, these accounts do not require donors to esteem their (...)
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  • Immunity in Context.Alfred I. Tauber - 2016 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31 (2):207-224.
    According to immunology’s prevailing paradigm, immunity is based on self/nonself discrimination and thus requires a construction of identity. Two orientations vie for dominance: The original conception, conceived in the context of infectious diseases, regards the organism as insular and autonomous, an entity that requires defense of its borders. An alternate view places the organism firmly in its environment in which both benign and onerous encounters occur. On this latter relational account, active tolerance allows for cooperative relationships with other organisms in (...)
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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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  • Were You a Part of Your Mother?Elselijn Kingma - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):609-646.
    Is the mammalian embryo/fetus a part of the organism that gestates it? According to the containment view, the fetus is not a part of, but merely contained within or surrounded by, the gestating organism. According to the parthood view, the fetus is a part of the gestating organism. This paper proceeds in two stages. First, I argue that the containment view is the received view; that it is generally assumed without good reason; and that it needs substantial support if it (...)
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  • At the Intersection of Self and Not-Self: Finding the Locus of ‘Self’ in Autoimmunity.James David Katz - 2018 - Medical Humanities 44 (2):137-139.
    Individuals with chronic autoimmune disease experience a sense of vulnerability. In part, this relates to the struggle for finding the meaning of the illness. The consequent existential distress may manifest in an unseated sense of personhood. Insight into the mechanism of this state of powerlessness and of perceived loss of agency is central to establishing a supportive clinician–patient relationship. This present exposition underscores the concept of autoimmunity as one that represents a demarcation in the psyche: one that is not just (...)
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  • Mitosis Circumscribes Individuals; Sex Creates New Individuals.Root Gorelick - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (6):871-890.
    Many aspects of biology, such as population genetics and senescence, are predicated on identifying individuals and generations. Conventional demarcations of individuals and generations, such as physiological autonomy, unicellular bottlenecks, and alternation of generation, are rife with problems. Do physically separated cuttings or plant ramets constitute separate individuals or generations? Are chimaeras one or more individuals? To resolve these problems, Clarke : 321–361, 2012) proposed that individuals are circumscribed by mechanisms that constrain heritable variance in fitness. Simultaneously, Gorelick and Heng : (...)
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  • Plant Individuality: A Solution to the Demographer’s Dilemma.Ellen Clarke - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):321-361.
    The problem of plant individuality is something which has vexed botanists throughout the ages, with fashion swinging back and forth from treating plants as communities of individuals (Darwin 1800 ; Braun and Stone 1853 ; Münch 1938 ) to treating them as organisms in their own right, and although the latter view has dominated mainstream thought most recently (Harper 1977 ; Cook 1985 ; Ariew and Lewontin 2004 ), a lively debate conducted mostly in Scandinavian journals proves that the issues (...)
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  • Animalism, Abortion, and a Future Like Ours.Andrea Sauchelli - 2019 - The Journal of Ethics 23 (3):317-332.
    Marquis’ future-like-ours argument against the morality of abortion assumes animalism—a family of theories according to which we are animals. Such an assumption is theoretically useful for various reasons, e.g., because it provides the theoretical underpinning for a reply to the contraception-abstinence objection. However, the connection between the future-like-ours argument and one popular version of animalism can prove lethal to the former, or so I argue in this paper.
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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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  • What Organisms Once Were and Might Yet Be.Christopher Shields - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (7).
    Organisms receded from view in much of twentieth-century biology, only to undergo a sort of renaissance at the start of the twenty-first. The story of why this should be so is complicated and fascinating, but belongs primarily to the history of biology. On the other hand, to the extent that it is so, a question naturally arises: what, after all, are organisms? This question has a long and complicated history of its own, both within and without of biology; an investigation (...)
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  • 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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  • Holobionts and the Ecology of Organisms: Multi-Species Communities or Integrated Individuals?Derek Skillings - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):875-892.
    It is now widely accepted that microorganisms play many important roles in the lives of plants and animals. Every macroorganism has been shaped in some way by microorganisms. The recognition of the ubiquity and importance of microorganisms has led some to argue for a revolution in how we understand biological individuality and the primary units of natural selection. The term “holobiont” was introduced as a name for the biological unit made up by a host and all of its associated microorganisms, (...)
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  • 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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  • Condiciones de identidad para organismos.José Tomás Alvarado & Cristóbal Unwin - 2017 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 21 (1):13-40.
    In this work it is proposed that the conditions of identity for biological organisms are given by the following principle: for all organisms x and y, x = y if and only if x has been caused by the self-preserving activity of y. This principle determines both the inter-temporal identity of organisms and the identity of organism in different possible worlds. It unifies what can be supposed about conditions of identity coming from —at least— three different conceptions about the nature (...)
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  • Becoming Organisms. The Development of Organisation and the Organisation of Development.Laura Nuño de la Rosa - 2010 - History and Philosophy of Life Sciences 32:289-316.
    Despite the radical importance of embryology in the development of organi- cism, developmental biology remains philosophically underexplored as a theoretical and empirical resource to clarify the nature of organisms. This paper discusses how embryology can help develop the organisational definition of the organism as a differentiated, function- ally integrated, and autonomous system. I distinguish two conceptions of development in the organisational tradition that yield two different conceptions of the organism: the life- history view claims that organisms can be considered as (...)
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  • System odpornościowy, ja immunologiczne. Wprowadzenie.Bartlomiej Swiatczak - 2012 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 3 (1).
    [Przekład] Pogląd głoszący, że układ odpornościowy rozróżnia to, co swoje, od tego, co obce, był jednym z centralnych założeń immunologii w drugiej połowie XX wieku. Pogląd ten miał wpływ na projekty eksperymentalne i interpretowanie danych. Jednakże w obliczu nowych dowodów empirycznych konieczny jest w immunologii nowy aparat konceptualny.
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  • Immunity and the Emergence of Individuality.Thomas Pradeu - 2013 - In Philippe Huneman & Frédéric Bouchard (eds.), From Groups to Individuals. Evolution and Emerging Individuality. MIT Press. pp. 77.
    Since, it has become clear that individuality is not to be considered as a given, but rather as something which needs to be explained. How has individuality emerged through evolution, and how has it subsequently been maintained? In particular, why is it that multicellular organisms appeared and persisted, despite the obvious interest of each cell of favoring its own replication? Several biologists see the immune system as one of the key components for explaining the maintenance of multicellular organisms’ individuality. Indeed, (...)
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  • Individuality as a Theoretical Scheme. I. Formal and Material Concepts of Individuality.Philippe Huneman - 2014 - Biological Theory 9 (4):361-373.
    Biological individuals are usually defined by evolutionists through a reference to natural selection. This article looks for a concept of individuality that would hold at the same time for organisms and for communities or ecosystems, the latter being unaffected by natural selection. In the wake of Simon’s notion of “quasi-independence,” I elaborate a concept of “weak individuality” defined by probabilistic connections between sub-entities, read off our knowledge of their interactions. This formal scheme of connections allows one to infer what are (...)
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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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  • Mutualistic Viruses and the Heteronomy of Life.Thomas Pradeu - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 59:80-88.
    Though viruses have generally been characterized by their pathogenic and more generally harmful effects, many examples of mutualistic viruses exist. Here I explain how the idea of mutualistic viruses has been defended in recent virology, and I explore four important conceptual and practical consequences of this idea. I ask to what extent this research modifies the way scientists might search for new viruses, our notion of how the host immune system interacts with microbes, the development of new therapeutic approaches, and, (...)
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  • Problems of Multi-Species Organisms: Endosymbionts to Holobionts.David C. Queller & Joan E. Strassmann - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):855-873.
    The organism is one of the fundamental concepts of biology and has been at the center of many discussions about biological individuality, yet what exactly it is can be confusing. The definition that we find generally useful is that an organism is a unit in which all the subunits have evolved to be highly cooperative, with very little conflict. We focus on how often organisms evolve from two or more formerly independent organisms. Two canonical transitions of this type—replicators clustered in (...)
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