Quaderns de Filosofia 6 (1):59-76 (2019)
AbstractHolobionts are symbiotic assemblages composed by a host plus its microbiome. The status of holobionts as individuals has recently been a subject of continuous controversy, which has given rise to two main positions: on the one hand, holobiont advocates argue that holobionts are biological individuals; on the other, holobiont detractors argue that they are just mere chimeras or ecological communities, but not individuals. Both parties in the dispute develop their arguments from the framework of the philosophy of biology, in terms of what it takes for a “conglomerate” to be considered an interesting individual from a biological point of view. However, the debates about holobiont individuality have important ontological implications that have remained vaguely explored from a metaphysical framework. The purpose of this paper is to cover that gap by presenting a metaphysical approach to holobionts individuality. Drawing upon a conception of natural selection that puts the focus on the transgenerational recurrence of the traits and that supports the thesis that holobionts are units of selection, we argue that holobionts bear emergent traits and exert downward powers over the entities that compose them. In this vein, we argue, a reasonable argument can be made for conceiving holobionts as emergent biological individuals.
Similar books and articles
Holobionts and the Ecology of Organisms: Multi-Species Communities or Integrated Individuals?Derek Skillings - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):875-892.
Symbiosis, Selection, and Individuality.Austin Booth - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (5):657-673.
Microorganisms as Scaffolds of Host Individuality: An Eco-Immunity Account of the Holobiont.Lynn Chiu & Gérard Eberl - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):819-837.
Multispecies individuals.Pierrick Bourrat & Paul E. Griffiths - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (2):33.
Holobionts as Units of Selection and a Model of Their Population Dynamics and Evolution.Joan Roughgarden, Scott F. Gilbert, Eugene Rosenberg, Ilana Zilber-Rosenberg & Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (1):44-65.
Organisms as Persisters.Subrena E. Smith - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (14).
The Importance of Symbiosis in Philosophy of Biology: An Analysis of the Current Debate on Biological Individuality and its Historical Roots.Javier Suárez - 2018 - Symbiosis 76 (2):77-96.
The Birth of the Holobiont: Multi-Species Birthing Through Mutual Scaffolding and Niche Construction.Lynn Chiu & Scott F. Gilbert - 2015 - Biosemiotics 8 (2):191-210.
Diet, Gut Microbes and Host Mate Choice.Philip T. Leftwich, Matthew I. Hutchings & Tracey Chapman - 2018 - Bioessays 40 (12):1800053.
Cultural Group Selection and Holobiont Evolution – a Comparison of Structures of Evolution.Ehud Lamm - 2016 - In Snait Gissis, Ehud Lamm & Ayelet Shavit (eds.), Landscapes of Collectivity in the Life Sciences. MIT Press.
From Groups to Individuals: Evolution and Emerging Individuality.Frederic Bouchard & Philippe Huneman (eds.) - 2013 - MIT Press.
Biological Individuality and Scientific Practice.Karen Kovaka - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1092-1103.
From Groups to Individuals. New Issues in Biological Individuality.Philippe Huneman & Frédéric Bouchard - unknown
Big Dreams for Small Creatures: Ilana and Eugene Rosenberg’s Path to the Hologenome Theory.Ehud Lamm - 2016 - In Oren Harman & Michael Dietrich (eds.), Dreamers, Visionaries, and Revolutionaries in the Life Sciences. Chicago University Press.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Citations of this work
What is a Hologenomic Adaptation? Emergent Individuality and Inter-Identity in Multispecies Systems.Javier Suárez & Vanessa Triviño - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 187 (11).
The stability of traits conception of the hologenome: An evolutionary account of holobiont individuality.Javier Suárez - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (1):1-27.
Rethinking Hereditary Relations: The Reconstitutor as the Evolutionary Unit of Heredity.Sophie J. Veigl, Javier Suárez & Adrian Stencel - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-42.
Equilibrium Explanation as Structural Non-Mechanistic Explanation: The Case Long-Term Bacterial Persistence in Human Hosts.Javier Suárez & Roger Deulofeu - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 3 (38):95-120.
El holobionte/hologenoma como nivel de seleccion.Javier Suárez - 2021 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 36 (1):81-112.
References found in this work
The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory.David J. Chalmers - 1996 - Oxford University Press.
Metaphysical Emergence: Weak and Strong.Jessica Wilson - 2015 - In Tomasz Bigaj & Christian Wuthrich (eds.), Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities. pp. 251-306.