Diachronic Identity in Complex Life Cycles: An Organizational Perspective
Difrisco (James) & Mossio (Matteo)
Source: Dupré, J. (ed.): Biological Identity: Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Biology, (History and Philosophy of Biology), Routledge, In press.
Paper - Abstract

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Authors’ Abstract

  1. What does it mean to be the same organism over time? This chapter develops an understanding of diachronic identity of organisms from an organizational perspective.
  2. We argue that a necessary condition for diachronic identity is organizational continuity, i.e., the presence of a continuous causal1 process linking successive organizational regimes, irrespective of material and functional changes.
  3. Organizational continuity is not a sufficient condition, however, because it cannot discriminate between the development of the same individual and the reproduction of a new individual.
  4. We therefore suggest that there are temporal boundaries of identity when there are changes in the number of continuous organized systems, which occurs through fission2, fusion3, or a combination of the two.
  5. We discuss the utility of the resulting organizational view, as well as its relations with other approaches to biological individuality.


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