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Logic and Philosophy of Science Group Talk (Fermin Fulda, Toronto)

Friday December 4, 2020, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The Logic and Philosophy of Science Group is pleased to welcome guest speaker Fermín Fulda, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Fulda works on the nature of biological and cognitive systems and is currently part of a research project entitled “Agency in Living Systems: How Organisms Actively Generate Adaptation, Resilience, and Innovation at Multiple Levels of Organization.”

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Meeting ID: 846 6263 3838
Passcode: 658011

Talk Title

Biological Individuals as Autonomous Agents

Talk Abstract

The individuation and differentiation of biological individuals is central to the scientific understanding of living beings. Core concepts of evolutionary biology such as ‘inheritance’, ‘competition’, ‘fitness’, ‘growth’ and ‘reproduction’ as well as the varieties of symbiosis such as ‘commensalism’, ‘parasitism’, ‘mutualism’, are predicated on the individuation and differentiation of biological individuals. But what is a biological individual? How are biological individuals individuated? Traditionally, paradigmatic cases of biological individuality include monogenomic animals, plants, and free-living single-celled organisms. Problematic cases include various forms of multicellular aggregates, assemblages, or collectives such as eusocial colonies, swarms, ecological communities, and various forms of close symbiosis, such as lichens, the Portuguese Man of war and more recently cases of host-microbiota symbiosis. Arguments for the putative individuality of some biological entity are often predicated on considerations of autonomy. But what exactly does biological autonomy consist of? I distinguish three varieties of biological autonomy including ‘causal’, ‘organizational’ and ‘agential’ autonomy and argue in favor of the latter as a criterion of biological individuality.

About the Logic and Philosophy of Science Group

One of six departmental Research Interest Groups, the Logic and Philosophy of Science Group hosts talks on logic, general philosophy of science, and philosophy of the particular sciences, as well as talks in allied areas such as formal epistemology, decision theory, and the metaphysics of science.



Friday December 4, 2020
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Logic and Philosophy of Science Group
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