Individuals Across the Sciences

ISBN : 9780199382514

Alexandre Guay; Thomas Pradeu
424 ページ
156 x 235 mm

What are individuals? How can they be identified? These are crucial questions for philosophers and scientists alike. Criteria of individuality seem to differ markedly between metaphysics and the empirical sciences - and this might well explain why no work has hitherto attempted to relate the contributions of metaphysics, physics and biology on this question. This timely volume brings together various strands of research into 'individuality', examining how different sciences handle the issue, and reflecting on how this scientific work relates to metaphysical concerns. The collection makes a major contribution to clarifying and overcoming obstacles to the construction of a general conception of the individual adequate for both physics and biology, and perhaps even beyond.


Chapter 1: Introduction: Progressive steps towards a unified conception of individuality
across the sciences
Alexandre Guay & Thomas Pradeu
Part 1: Metaphysical and logical foundations to individuality
Chapter 2: Why individuality matters
Stéphane Chauvier
A foreword to Jonathan Lowe's chapter
Alexander Bird
Chapter 3: Non-Individuals
Jonathan Lowe
Chapter 4: Individuality, quantum physics, and a metaphysics of non-individuals: the
role of the formal
Krause and Arenhart
Part 2: Puzzles about individuals in biology and physics
Chapter 5: Individuality and Life Cycles
Peter Godfrey-Smith
Chapter 6: What Biofilms Can Teach Us About Individuality
Marc Ereshefsky and Makmiller Pedroso
Chapter 7: Cell and Body: Individuals in Stem Cell Biology
Melinda Fagan
Chapter 8: Collective individuals: parallels between joint action and biological
Cédric Paternotte
Chapter 9: On the Emergence of Individuals in Physics
Simon Saunders
Chapter 10: Are there individuals in physics and if so what are they?
James Ladyman
Chapter 11: Minimal Structural Essentialism: Why Physics Doesn't Care Which is
David Glick
Chapter 12: Bohm's approach and individuality
Paavo Pylkkanen, Basil J. Hiley, and Ilkka Pattiniemi
Chapter 13: Branch-Relative Identity
Christina Conroy
Part 3: Beyond disciplinary borders
Chapter 14: The Metaphysics of Individuality and the Sciences
Matteo Morganti
Chapter 15: The Biological and the Mereological: Metaphysical Implications of the
Individuality Thesis
Matt Haber
Chapter 16: To Be Continued: The Genidentity of Physical and Biological Processes
Alexandre Guay and Thomas Pradeu
Chapter 17: Experimental Realization of Individuality
Ruey-Lin Chen
Chapter 18: Eliminating Objects Across the Sciences
Steven French


Alexandre Guay is Professor of Philosophy of Natural Sciences and Analytical Philosophy at the Universite catholique de Louvain, Belgium.; Thomas Pradeu is Full-Time Researcher in Philosophy of Science at the CNRS in Bordeaux, France.