Apr 09

SEMINAR: Philosophy of Fungi


Austin Booth Department of Philosophy Harvard University

Evolution and the Individuality of Fungi and Holobionts

10:30 AM, Thursday 17 April
Room 3H1, Sir Charles Tupper Building College and Carleton Streets

Abstract: Using a Darwinian framework, I articulate accounts of individuality in two kinds of biological systems: heterokaryotic fungi and holobionts. After introducing some basic fungal biology, I argue that fungal entities at two levels of the hierarchy ought to be viewed as individuals in evolvable populations. I give a preliminary account of the relationship between the two levels. I then move on to a discussion of the individuality of holobionts (entities comprised of symbiotic microbes and their host organisms). I argue that many holobionts are not parts of determinate lineages and hence are not units of selection. Most symbiotic collectives are instead complex entities composed of various interacting and independently evolving populations.

Austin Booth, a soon-to-graduate PhD student of Peter Godfrey-Smith, is a candidate for a postdoctoral position in Philosophy and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Evolution Studies Group