Individuality is an important concept in biology, yet there are many non-equivalent criteria of individuality expressed in different kinds of biological individuals. This article 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 that 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. 1Introduction2Kinds of Biological Individuals3Evolutionary Individuals and Functional Kinds4Evolutionary versus Non-evolutionary Kinds of Individuals 4.1Physiological individuality4.2Ecological individuality4.3Developmental individuality5Conclusion
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axy006
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Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Evolution and the Levels of Selection.Samir Okasha - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
Special Sciences.Jerry A. Fodor - 1974 - Synthese 28 (2):97-115.

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