Broadening the problem agenda of biological individuality: individual differences, uniqueness and temporality

Biology and Philosophy 36 (2):1-28 (2021)
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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 and temporality. We show that broadening the problem agenda of biological individuality draws attention to underrecognized philosophical issues and discussions and thereby organizes and enriches the existing debate.

Author Profiles

Rose Trappes
University of Exeter
Marie I. Kaiser
Bielefeld University


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