Biological Theory 6 (1):48-58 (2011)

Lucie Laplane
CNRS, Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
The tacit standard view that development ends once reproductive capacity is acquired (reproductive boundary, or ‘‘RB,’’ thesis) has recently been challenged by biologists and philosophers of biology arguing that development continues until death (death boundary, or ‘‘DB,’’ thesis). The relevance of these two theses is difficult to assess because the fact that there is no precise definition of development makes the determination of its temporal boundaries problematic. Taking into account this difficulty, this article tries to develop a new species-dependent perspective on temporal boundaries of development. This species-dependent account stands against both RB and DB theses since neither of them reflects the differences between species in the temporality of their development. In this perspective, I propose to use stem cells as a tool to analyze (1) the different developmental capacities of an organism during its life; and (2) the different developmental temporal capacities between species. In particular, I will show that stem cells enable four distinct temporal developmental patterns to be distinguished, i.e., four distinct temporal boundaries of development in the living. I show how these four patterns can be interpreted differently depending on the perspective one has on the definition of development.
Keywords Asexual reproduction  Boundary  Definition  Development  Differentiation  Division  Regeneration  Stem cells
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DOI 10.1007/s13752-011-0009-z
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Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.

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