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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

What Biofilms Can Teach Us about Individuality

What Biofilms Can Teach Us about Individuality

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

Marc Ereshefsky

Makmiller Pedroso

Oxford University Press

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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