Individuality and Equivocation
Wilson (Jack)
Source: Wilson, Jack - Biological Individuality: The identity and Persistence of Living Entities; 1999, Chap. 3, pp. 48-68
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. Paradigm Individuals: the Higher Animals. I need a more refined vocabulary of individuation1 to describe and classify the diversity of life cycle and modes of growth and reproduction found in nature. In this section I begin to develop this vocabulary by examining the properties of an adult higher animal that make it a paradigm of biological individuality.
  2. Other Possible Solutions. How do we individuate and count organisms that are not like higher animals?
  3. The Proposed Solution. We must reform the concept of an individual in biology so that it is applicable to all living things. The higher animal deserves a special place in biological thought because it marks the coextension of six kinds of individuality (A particular; a historical entity; a functional individual; a genetic individual; a developmental individual; and a unit of evolution). But if we realize that these six concepts can be divided from one another, we can develop a useful vocabulary that describes all living entities, most of which do not embody all of the concepts.

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