Biological Identity: Why Metaphysicians and Philosophers of Biology Should Talk to One Another
Meincke (Anne Sophie) & Dupre (John)
Source: Meincke (Anne Sophie) & Dupre (John), Eds. - Biological Identity: Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Biology
Paper - Abstract

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Authors’ Abstract

  1. Analytic metaphysics has recently discovered biology as a means of grounding metaphysical theories. Long-standing metaphysical puzzles are being reconsidered in the light of biological perspectives or concepts. These include the problems of personal identity and material constitution, which are increasingly being addressed by appeal to a biological understanding of identity.
  2. This development within metaphysics is in significant tension with the growing tendency amongst philosophers of biology to regard biological identity as a deep puzzle in its own right: recent studies especially of symbiosis and of the evolution of multi-cellular organisms, and the inherently dynamical character of living systems as revealed by systems biology and developmental biology, pose manifold and intricate challenges for a satisfying account of biological identity, ruling out an appeal to any unproblematic notion thereof.
  3. In this introductory chapter, we describe these challenges but also the need for an appreciation of the metaphysical questions and implications lurking in the background. Taken together, these observations demonstrate the importance of a dialogue between metaphysics and the philosophy of biology, which the present collection of essays aims to initiate.

  1. Biological Identity in Metaphysics and in the Philosophy of Biology
  2. Why Metaphysicians and Philosophers of Biology Should Talk to One Another
  3. Overview of the Dialogue to Follow1


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In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:

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