Landscapes of Collectivity in the Life Sciences

Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press (2017)
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Abstract

The aim of the book is to explore common concerns regarding methodological individualism in different fields of the life sciences broadly construed. It will address conceptual problems regarding individuals and their relation and dependence on the collectivities they are part of and consider innovative new viewpoints, grounded in specific scientific projects that question the present descriptions and understanding and raise challenges. A wide variety of recent, influential contributions in the life sciences utilize notions of collectivity, sociality, rich interactions and emergent phenomena, as essential explanatory tools to handle numerous persistent scientific questions in the life sciences. Examples range from gene expression and regulation, the dynamics of bacterial populations, the ecological developmental biology of symbiosis, levels of selection, to communication, motion and patterns of behavior in diverse life forms, the role of social institutions and cultural dynamics in human evolution, and the psychological basis for social norms. The book is being structured so that fruitful and rewarding disciplinary interactions take place among researchers and scholars who have been concerned with overcoming methodological individualism. The books includes a section of four papers on holobionts and the hologenome theory and a special memorial article on the work of the late Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob authored by Herbert Levine.

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Ehud Lamm
Tel Aviv University
Ayelet Shavit
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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