Making microbes matter: essay review of Maureen A. O’Malley’s Philosophy of Microbiology
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In a pioneering book, Philosophy of Microbiology, Maureen O’Malley argues for the philosophical importance of microbes through an examination of their impact on ecosystems, evolution, biological classification, collaborative behavior, and multicellular organisms. She identifies many understudied conceptual issues in the study of microbes. If philosophers follow her lead, the philosophy of biology will be expanded and enriched.
KeywordsMicrobial classification Microbial species Microbiome Philosophy of molecular biology Biological individuality
This collaborative review was written in the Fall of 2017 as a work product of Stevens Institute of Technology class HPL 367 Philosophy of Biology, which aims to bring undergraduates into philosophical research. We thank Maureen O’Malley for comments on an early draft.
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