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Kinds of Biological Individuals: Sortals, Projectibility, and Selection

DiFrisco, James (2017) Kinds of Biological Individuals: Sortals, Projectibility, and Selection. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

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Abstract

Individuality is an important concept in biology, yet there are many non-equivalent criteria of individuality expressed in different kinds of biological individuals. This paper 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 which suit them for different explanatory roles. I argue that evolutionary individuals, interpreted as forming a functional kind, face difficulties of individuation and explanatory power that are mitigated by relying on more structurally based properties and non-evolutionary kinds.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
DiFrisco, Jamesjames.difrisco@gmail.com0000-0001-9600-1013
Keywords: biological individuality; natural kinds; projectibility; multiple realizability; evolutionary individual; organism
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Depositing User: Dr. James DiFrisco
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2017 14:39
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2017 14:39
Item ID: 13376
Journal or Publication Title: The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Date: 29 August 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13376

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