Biological individuality: the case of biofilms

Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):331-349 (2013)
Abstract
This paper examines David Hull’s and Peter Godfrey-Smith’s accounts of biological individuality using the case of biofilms. Biofilms fail standard criteria for individuality, such as having reproductive bottlenecks and forming parent-offspring lineages. Nevertheless, biofilms are good candidates for individuals. The nature of biofilms shows that Godfrey-Smith’s account of individuality, with its reliance on reproduction, is too restrictive. Hull’s interactor notion of individuality better captures biofilms, and we argue that it offers a better account of biological individuality. However, Hull’s notion of interactor needs more precision. We suggest some ways to make Hull’s notion of interactor and his account of individuality more precise. Generally, we maintain that biofilms are a good test case for theories of individuality, and a careful examination of biofilms furthers our understanding of biological individuality
Keywords Biofilms  Biological individuality  Individuals  Interactors  Reproduction
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-012-9340-4
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References found in this work BETA
Sameness and Substance Renewed.David Wiggins - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
A Matter of Individuality.David L. Hull - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 45 (3):335-360.
The Problem of Biological Individuality.Ellen Clarke - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (4):312-325.

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Citations of this work BETA
Towards a Processual Microbial Ontology.Eric Bapteste & John Dupré - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):379-404.
Symbiosis, Selection, and Individuality.Austin Booth - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (5):657-673.
Pathways to Pluralism About Biological Individuality.Beckett Sterner - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):609-628.

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