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The Yearbook on History and Interpretation of Phenomenology 2013

Person – Subject – Organism- An Overview of Interdisciplinary Insights


Edited By Anton Vydra

The main topic of the volume encompasses three areas of phenomenological research: person, subject, and organism. These three topics are interrelated in various ways. On the one hand, the question is Husserlian phenomenology of personhood and subjectivity, and on the other hand, it is a broader problem including epistemological, ontological and biological approaches. Those great traditional and contemporary themes of subjectivitiy and intersubjectivity, concepts of person, community and interpersonality, questions of humanity, value and biological status of human beings all became part of Edmund Husserl’s focus. The contributors intend to show that a number of inspiring and unexplored questions arose from these thematic areas, questions which are related to various specific and interconnected fields of study.
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Individuality and Incorporation: Renewing the Concepts of ‘Life’ and ‘Biological Organism’


Elena Pagni


Among the several questions that animate the current debate in Philosophy of Biology, one of the most important concerns the necessity to rethink of a series of ‘common criteria’ to explain ‘life’ and ‘evolution of life.’ As recently underlined by J. Dupré and M. A. O’Malley, ‘life’ seems to arise from a collaborative system of interactions between different forms of organisms. With regard to these considerations and the recent accounts of ‘biological organism’ outlined by Symbiogenesis, my primary purpose will be to reconsider, from a philosophical point of view, the conception of ‘biological entity’ as strictly dependent on complex levels of ‘incorporation’ among different beings.

Keywords: life, biological singularity, living organism, symbiogenesis, incorporation, intercorporeity


As well stressed by John Dupré, biology should not be conceived as a science requiring “no more than the working of physics and chemistry;”1 rather, he adds “there are emergent properties that could not have been predicted […] from a complete knowledge of the constituents of a thing and their internal relations.”2

Hereinafter, I give a brief account of some recent reviews of ‘biological organism’ pointed out by Theoretical Biology and evolutionary epistemology, thus presenting new philosophical issues for understanding life phenomena as singularities: by taking account of the role of ‘symbiosis’ and ‘collaborations’ between organisms through evolution, indeed, we see that the idea of ‘biological entity’ is strictly dependent on complex levels of incorporation among different...

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