The Multiple Realizability of Biological Individuals

Journal of Philosophy 110 (8):413-435 (2013)
Abstract
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 organisms as essentially possessing some mechanisms that play this role.
Keywords Biological individuality  organismality  unit of selection
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DOI 10.5840/jphil2013110817
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The Relation Between Kin and Multilevel Selection: An Approach Using Causal Graphs.S. Okasha - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (2):435-470.
Multi-Level Selection and the Explanatory Value of Mathematical Decompositions.Christopher Clarke - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (4):1025-1055.

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