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Immunity – The Evolution of an Idea - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Immunity: The Evolution of an Idea

Alfred I. Tauber


Immunology is the science of biological identity. Three key characteristics—individuality, identification, and immunity—together define immune identity, and as one notion changes meaning, so do the others. The story of this mutual dependence begins with the discovery of infectious diseases, when immunity, conceived as the response to invading pathogens, focused on the infected patient—later formalized as the “immune self.” That orientation, signifying autonomy much in line with cultural norms of individuality, dominated twentieth-century immune theory. Although an effective idiom, the self con ... More

Keywords: immunity, ecology, immunology, selfhood, autoimmunity, symbiosis, systems biology, information, cognition, eco-immunology

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780190651244
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190651244.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Alfred I. Tauber, author
Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Zoltan Kohn Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Boston University

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