From Groups to Individuals: Evolution and Emerging Individuality (Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology)

From Groups to Individuals: Evolution and Emerging Individuality (Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology)

Language: English

Pages: 289

ISBN: 0262018721

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Author note: Philippe Huneman (Editor), Frédéric Bouchard (Editor)
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Our intuitive assumption that only organisms are the real individuals in the natural world is at odds with developments in cell biology, ecology, genetics, evolutionary biology, and other fields. Although organisms have served for centuries as nature's paradigmatic individuals, science suggests that organisms are only one of the many ways in which the natural world could be organized.

When living beings work together -- as in ant colonies, beehives, and bacteria-metazoan symbiosis -- new collective individuals can emerge. In this book, leading scholars consider the biological and philosophical implications of the emergence of these new collective individuals from associations of living beings. The topics they consider range from metaphysical issues to biological research on natural selection, sociobiology, and symbiosis.

The contributors investigate individuality and its relationship to evolution and the specific concept of organism; the tension between group evolution and individual adaptation; and the structure of collective individuals and the extent to which they can be defined by the same concept of individuality. These new perspectives on evolved individuality should trigger important revisions to both philosophical and biological conceptions of the individual.

Contributors:
Frederic Bouchard, Ellen Clarke, Jennifer Fewell, Andrew Gardner, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Charles J. Goodnight, Matt Haber, Andrew Hamilton, Philippe Huneman, Samir Okasha, Thomas Pradeu, Scott Turner, Minus van Baalen"

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thing that evolution does is produce new things that enter into the Darwinian pattern of change. As one Darwinian population evolves, it can give rise to new kinds of Darwinian individuals; they gradually come into focus. These new individuals include things like us, which came into focus as the cells that make up animals changed how they behave. Darwinian individuals can also go out of focus—lose their Darwinian Darwinian Individuals 25 characteristics. Once organized animals like us exist,

relations between the choice of a definition method and explanatory strategy, and emphasizes the consequences of the limitations of biological knowledge for the hierarchy of these definitions. Chapter 3, by Ellen Clarke and Samir Okasha, draws an analogy between the proliferation of ascriptions of individuality in biology and the problem of defining species, where concept pluralism has been adopted to the benefit of biologists using the concept. Clarke and Okasha argue that the problems met by

indications of selfishness and cheating invariably emerge, spoiling the picture of harmonious cooperation for a common purpose (Burt & Trivers 2008; Strassmann & Queller 2010). The first and most basic selective factor limiting the evolution of somatic cohesion is that some cell lineages can escape from the soma and spread through some form of horizontal transmission (Dingli & Nowak 2006). A notorious example is that of the facial tumor currently decimating the Tasmanian Devil because it spreads

relate to the concept of organism? Is there basically only one concept of 10 Frédéric Bouchard and Philippe Huneman individual, or should the acknowledgment of a variety in collectives behaving as individuals compel us to some pluralism about the concept of individual? How, then, would the many varying concepts of individual be articulated, and what are the scientific uses of each? Contrasting answers to this set of questions will be provided by the authors in part III. Chapter 8, by Andrew

Therefore, Haber argues that a unique concept of individuality should be able to embrace all collective entities evolving some individuality, hence forcing us to give up not only the concept of superorganism, but also even the concept of organism. Chapter 10, by J. Scott Turner, starts by showing the strengths and the limits of the classical kin selection approaches to collective individuals such as social insects. Termite mounds, since they are composed of termites and fungi but are, according

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