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Introduction: Working Together on Individuality

Introduction: Working Together on Individuality

(p.1) Introduction: Working Together on Individuality
Biological Individuality
Lynn K. NyhartScott Lidgard
University of Chicago Press

In this essay, we characterize the interdisciplinary work of this volume. We first sketch the different goals and assumptions of scientists, historians, and philosophers with respect to biological individuality, noting where their interests cross, where they diverge, and how different disciplinary perspectives might provide resources for each other. We then summarize the main themes of the different chapters, individually and collectively. Here, the discussion pays special attention to hierarchy and evolutionary transitions in individuality, to historical approaches to individuality that extended across multiple temporal scales and often took non-Darwinian evolutionary perspectives, and to the dynamic relations among parts and between parts and wholes that often call into question the very notion of individuality.

Keywords:   biological individuality, interdisciplinarity, part-whole relations

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