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What is an organism? An immunological answer

Pradeu, Thomas (2010) What is an organism? An immunological answer. [Preprint]


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The question “What is an organism?”, formerly considered as essential in biology, has now been increasingly replaced by a larger question, “What is a biological individual?”. On the grounds that i) individuation is theory-dependent, and ii) physiology does not offer a theory, biologists and philosophers of biology have claimed that it is the theory of evolution by natural selection which tells us what counts as a biological individual. Here I show that one physiological field, immunology, offers a theory, which makes possible a biological individuation based on physiological grounds. I give a new answer to the question of the individuation of an organism by linking together the evolutionary and the immunological approaches to biological individuation.

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Item Type: Preprint
Pradeu, Thomas
Keywords: Philosophy of immunology; organism; immunology; individuality; levels of selection
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Specific Sciences > Biology
Depositing User: Thomas Pradeu
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2010
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:19
Item ID: 5089

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