Javier Suárez
Jagiellonian University
The units or levels of selection debate concerns the question of what kind of biological systems are stable enough that part of their evolution is a result of the process of natural selection acting at their level. Traditionally, the debate has concerned at least two different, though related, questions: the question of the level at which interaction with the environment occurs, and the question of the level at which reproduction occurs. In recent years, biologists and philosophers have discussed a new aspect of this debate, namely the possibility that certain multi-species consortia formed by a host and its microbiome may act as a unit of selection. This thesis, however, has not been without criticism, as it is doubtful that such consortia could meet the conditions required to achieve the degree of stability that would allow them to experience natural selection. The purpose of this paper is to systematically examine such criticisms and to defend the thesis that the holobiont/hologenome can act as a genuine level of selection both in the form of an interactor and in the form of a reproducer. To do so, it will be argued that the microbiome should be characterized in functional rather than taxonomic terms.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Philosophy of Science
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
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

Evolution and the Levels of Selection.Samir Okasha - 2006 - Oxford University Press.

View all 47 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Levels of Selection.Robert N. Brandon - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:315 - 323.
Levels of Selection.Robert A. Wilson - 2007 - In Mohan Matthen & Christopher Stephens (eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Science, Volume 3, Philosophy of Biology. pp. 155-176.
Natural Selection and Multi-Level Causation.Maximiliano Martínez & Andrés Moya - 2011 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 3 (20130604).
What is Hierarchical Selection?Ben Goertzel - 1992 - Biology and Philosophy 7 (1):27-33.
Précis of Evolution and the Levels of Selection. [REVIEW]Samir Okasha - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):212-220.
Science and Selection.Kim Sterelny - 1994 - Biology and Philosophy 9 (1):45-62.
Units and Levels of Selection.Elisabeth Lloyd - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Evolution and the Levels of Selection.Samir Okasha - 2006 - Oxford University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
216 ( #47,865 of 2,454,708 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
120 ( #4,851 of 2,454,708 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes