Acta Biotheoretica (3):391-415 (2020)

Leonardo Bich
University of the Basque Country
Guglielmo Militello
University of the Basque Country
Both physiological and evolutionary criteria of biological individuality are underpinned by the idea that an individual is a functionally integrated whole. However, a precise account of functional integration has not been provided so far, and current notions are not developed in the details, especially in the case of composite systems. To address this issue, this paper focuses on the organisational dimension of two representative associations of prokaryotes: biofilms and the endosymbiosis between prokaryotes. Some critical voices have been raised against the thesis that biofilms are biological individuals. Nevertheless, it has not been investigated which structural and functional obstacles may prevent them from being fully integrated physiological or evolutionary units. By contrast, the endosymbiotic association of different species of prokaryotes has the potential for achieving a different type of physiological integration based on a common boundary and interlocked functions. This type of association had made it possible, under specific conditions, to evolve endosymbionts into fully integrated organelles. This paper therefore has three aims: first, to analyse the organisational conditions and the physiological mechanisms that enable integration in prokaryotic associations; second, to discuss the organisational differences between biofilms and prokaryotic endosymbiosis and the types of integration they achieve; finally, to provide a more precise account of functional integration based on these case studies.
Keywords biofilm  control  Endosymbiosis  Engulfment  Eukaryogenesis  Regulation
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2020
DOI 10.1007/s10441-020-09390-z
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

An Organizational Account of Biological Functions.Matteo Mossio, Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):813-841.
What is an Organism? An Immunological Answer.Thomas Pradeu - 2010 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 32 (2-3):247-267.
Individuality and Selection.David L. Hull - 1980 - Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 11:311-332.

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Functional Integration and the Mind.Jakob Hohwy - 2007 - Synthese 159 (3):315-328.
On Mushroom Individuality.Daniel Molter - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1117-1127.
La Mutation des Organisations Productives.Hervé Serieyx - 2011 - Hermès: La Revue Cognition, communication, politique 60 (2):, [ p.].
Collective individuation and emergence of organismality.Isaac Hernández & Davide Vecchi - 2019 - Humanities Journal of Valparaiso 14:335-362.
On Mycorrhizal Individuality.Daniel J. Molter - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (5):1-16.
Model for Human, Artificial & Collective Consciousness (Part I).Andy E. Williams - 2019 - Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research 10 (4):1-20.
Functional Ecology's Non-Selectionist Understanding of Function.Antoine C. Dussault - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 70:1-9.


Added to PP index

Total views
74 ( #143,647 of 2,445,466 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #76,092 of 2,445,466 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes