The many faces of biological individuality

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Biology & Philosophy, ISSN: 0169-3867, Vol: 31, Issue: 6, Page: 761-773

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Pradeu, Thomas
Springer Nature; Springer
Arts and Humanities; Agricultural and Biological Sciences
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article description
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 (the tendency to focus on a single individuality criterion and/or a single biological field), theory-centrism (the tendency to discuss only theory-based individuation), ahistoricity (the tendency to neglect what biologists of the past and historians of biology have said about biological individuality), disciplinary isolationism (the tendency to isolate biological individuality from other scientific and philosophical domains that have investigated individuality), and the multiplication of conceptual uncertainties (the lack of a precise definition of “biological individual” and related terms). 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, and scientifically informed conception of what a biological individual is.