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Individuals Across the Sciences$
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Alexandre Guay and Thomas Pradeu

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199382514

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199382514.001.0001

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What Biofilms Can Teach Us about Individuality

What Biofilms Can Teach Us about Individuality

Chapter:
(p.103) Chapter 6 What Biofilms Can Teach Us about Individuality
Source:
Individuals Across the Sciences
Author(s):

Marc Ereshefsky

Makmiller Pedroso

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199382514.003.0007

This chapter uses the example of biofilms to examine Hull’s and Godfrey-Smith’s accounts of biological individuality and to explore the nature of individuality more generally. The case of biofilms shows that Godfrey-Smith’s account of biological individuality is too restrictive, while Hull’s interactor account is appropriately inclusive. The chapter then augments Hull’s account in three ways. First, Hull’s notion of interactor is embedded in a general theory of individuality that applies to individuals both inside and outside of biology. Second, the sort of interaction required of the parts of an individual is explored and elaborated. Third, Hull’s commitment to replicator theory is dropped and Griesemer’s account of reproducers is adopted. In brief, this chapter offers an interactor account of biological individuality within a more general theory of individuality.

Keywords:   individual, individuality, biofilm, interactor, natural selection, reproducer

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