Nouveaux regards sur l’individualité biologique : autoproduction, composition, transition

Abstract : The theme about individuation and persistence of living entities is one of the central issues in the philosophy of biology. In the life sciences, the organism represents traditionally the paradigmatic example of the biological individual. However, despite the intuitive connection between the organism and the individual, contemporary biology has been able to make wider use of the concept of the individual. Thus, the contours of what was apprehended as belonging to the living world has been enlarged by the recognition of several types of biological individuals, among which we find not only so-called "traditional" organisms, but also a variety of entities such as protists, RNA molecules, prions, viruses and bacteria of all kinds. In addition, this new vision of the biological individual has been used to illustrate the different levels of biological organization. In this sense, the discussion focuses on the level - genes, cells, organisms, superorganisms, species, ecosystems - where selection acts, in which the organism can be considered a simple level between a variety of levels of selection. Consequently, the extension of the limits of biological ontology allowed, on the one hand, to question the concept of the individual by releasing it from the reference to the organism, and on the other hand, to relativize the importance of the organism within the biological discourse. However, we argue that, to contribute to the development of biological individuality theme, we must give voice to another discourse on individuality, which emerges from discussions on the ontology of organisms. It is towards the systemic tradition that we must turn our attention, in order to extend research on the nature of biological individuality in the light of a renewed definition of the organism. Thus, we assumes an important distinction between two non-exclusive biological tendencies about the problem of the biological individual: the Darwinian individual and the ontogenetic individual. In an ontogenetic approach, an individual corresponds to the entity that self-determines during its individual life time. Thus, this approach is on a physiological conception, centered on biological organization.
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Isaac Hernandez. Nouveaux regards sur l’individualité biologique : autoproduction, composition, transition. Philosophie. Université Toulouse le Mirail - Toulouse II, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018TOU20052⟩. ⟨tel-02429436v2⟩

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