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Abstract
The question “What is an organism?”, formerly considered as essential in biology, has now been increasingly replaced by a larger question, “What is a biological individual?”. On the grounds that i) individuation is theory-dependent, and ii) physiology does not offer a theory, biologists and philosophers of biology have claimed that it is the theory of evolution by natural selection which tells us what counts as a biological individual. Here I show that one physiological field, immunology, offers a theory, which makes possible a biological individuation based on physiological grounds. I give a new answer to the question of the individuation of an organism by linking together the evolutionary and the immunological approaches to biological individuation
Keywords organism  individual  identity  immunology  immune system  symbiosis  microbiome  fitness
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References found in this work BETA

A Matter of Individuality.David L. Hull - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 45 (3):335-360.
The Extended Replicator.Kim Sterelny, Kelly C. Smith & Michael Dickison - 1996 - Biology and Philosophy 11 (3):377-403.
Genes in the Postgenomic Era.Paul E. Griffiths & Karola Stotz - 2006 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (6):499-521.
The Immune Self: Theory or Metaphor?Alfred I. Tauber - 1994 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Problem of Biological Individuality.Ellen Clarke - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (4):312-325.
Were You a Part of Your Mother?Elselijn Kingma - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):609-646.
The Many Faces of Biological Individuality.Thomas Pradeu - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):761-773.

View all 41 citations / Add more citations

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