The Biological and Philosophical Roots of Individuality
Wilson (Jack)
Source: Wilson, Jack - Biological Individuality: The identity and Persistence of Living Entities; 1999, Chap. 2, pp. 22-47
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Author’s Abstract

In this Chapter I begin by briefly exploring some of the ways in which individuality is an important first topic for biologists, even those without a theoretical bent. I end the first section with a pair of case studies demonstrating the reality of the problem I hope to solve. In the following sections I sketch some representative philosophical positions about the substantial kinds for living things. I end this chapter by developing a theory of natural kinds1 that will effectively underwrite the particular ontology of living things that I will develop in Chapter 3.


  1. Why Biologists (Should) Care About Individuality;
  2. Philosophers on Living Entities;
  3. Natural Kinds2 and Substantial Kinds;
  4. Patterns and Natural Kinds3.

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