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Profile: Ellen Clarke (Oxford University, University of Leeds)
  1. Ellen Clarke (2011). The Problem of Biological Individuality. 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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  2. Ellen Clarke (2013). The Multiple Realizability of Biological Individuals. Journal of Philosophy (8):413-435.
    Biological theory demands a clear organism concept, but at present biologists cannot agree on one. They know that counting particular units, and not counting others, allows them to generate explanatory and predictive descriptions of evolutionary processes. Yet they lack a unified theory telling them which units to count. In this paper, I offer a novel account of biological individuality, which reconciles conflicting definitions of ‘organism’ by interpreting them as describing alternative realisers of a common functional role, and then defines individual (...)
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  3. Ellen Clarke (2012). Plant Individuality: A Solution to the Demographer's Dilemma. 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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  4.  35
    Ellen Clarke (2015). Philosophy of Microbiology. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2015.
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  5.  19
    Ellen Clarke (2014). Origins of Evolutionary Transitions. Journal of Biosciences 39 (2):303-317.
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  6.  31
    Ellen Clarke, The Evolution of Cooperation. The Philosophers' Magazine.
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  7.  6
    Ellen Clarke (forthcoming). Evolutionary Transitions to Multicellular Life. [REVIEW] Quarterly Review of Biology.
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  8. Ellen Clarke (2011). Plant Individuality and Multilevel Selection Theory. In Kim Sterelny & Brett Calcott (eds.), The Major Transitions Revisited. MIT Press 227--250.
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  9.  14
    Ellen Clarke (2016). Levels of Selection in Biofilms: Multispecies Biofilms Are Not Evolutionary Individuals. Biology and Philosophy 31 (2):191-212.
    Microbes are generally thought of as unicellular organisms, but we know that many microbes live as parts of biofilms—complex, surface-attached microbial communities numbering millions of cells. Some authors have recently argued in favour of reconceiving biofilms as biological entities in their own right. In particular, some have claimed that multispecies biofilms are evolutionary individuals : 10126–10132 2015). Against this view, I defend the conservative consensus that selection acts primarily upon microbial cells.
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  10.  3
    Ellen Clarke (forthcoming). Adaptation, Multilevel Selection and Organismality: A Clash of Perspectives. In Richard Joyce (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy. Routledge
    The concept of adaptation is pivotal to modern evolutionary thinking, but it has long been the subject of controversy, especially in respect of the relative roles of selection versus constraints in explaining the traits of organisms. This paper tackles a different problem for the concept of adaptation: its interpretation in light of multilevel selection theory. In particular, I arbitrate a dispute that has broken out between the proponents of rival perspectives on multilevel adaptations. Many experts now say that multilevel and (...)
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  11.  83
    Ellen Clarke (2014). John Dupre Processes of Life: Essays in the Philosophy of Biology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (1):173-177.
  12.  82
    Ellen Clarke (2009). Review of JAMIE ELWICK, Styles of Reasoning in the British Life Sciences: Shared Assumptions, 1820–1858. [REVIEW] British Journal for the History of Science 42 (1):143-145.
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  13.  1
    Ellen Clarke (2010). The Problem of Biological Individuality. Biological Theory 5 (4):312-325.
    Darwin described forces of selection acting upon individuals, but there remains a great deal of controversy about the exact status and definition of a biological individual. 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 article is to show that there is a real problem of biological individuality, and an urgent need to arbitrate among the current plethora of solutions to (...)
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  14.  54
    Ellen Clarke (2006). Anarchy, Socialism and a Darwinian Left. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 37 (1):136-150.
    In A Darwinian left Peter Singer aims to reconcile Darwinian theory with left wing politics, using evolutionary game theory and in particular a model proposed by Robert Axelrod, which shows that cooperation can be an evolutionarily successful strategy. In this paper I will show that whilst Axelrod’s model can give support to a kind of left wing politics, it is not the kind that Singer himself envisages. In fact, it is shown that there are insurmountable problems for the idea of (...)
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  15.  16
    Ellen Clarke & Samir Okasha (2013). 3 Species and Organisms: What Are the Problems? In Philippe Huneman & Frédéric Bouchard (eds.), From Groups to Individuals. Evolution and Emerging Individuality. MIT Press 55.
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  16.  25
    Ellen Clarke (2009). Noah and the Spaceship: Evolution for Twenty-First Century Christians. Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):725-734.
    Evolution has increasingly become a topic of conflict between scientists and Christians, but Alexandre Meinesz’s recent book How Life Began aims to provide a reconciliation between the two. Here I review his somewhat unorthodox perspective on major transitions, alien origins and the meaning of life, with a critical focus on his account of the generation of multicellularity.
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  17.  5
    Ellen Clarke, Jennifer Fewell, Andy Gardner, Matt Haber, Andrew Hamilton, Philippe Huneman & Thomas Pradeu (2013). Frédéric Bouchard Département de Philosophie, Université de Montreal & Centre interuniversitaire. In Philippe Huneman & Frédéric Bouchard (eds.), From Groups to Individuals. Evolution and Emerging Individuality. MIT Press 265.
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  18.  2
    Ellen Clarke (2009). Styles of Reasoning in the British Life Sciences: Shared Assumptions, 1820–1858. [REVIEW] British Journal for the History of Science 42 (1):143-145.
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  19. Ellen Clarke (2006). Anarchy, Socialism and a Darwinian Left. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37 (1):136-150.
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