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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02578

The interactive construction of biological individuality through biotic entrenchment

 Isaac Hernández1* and Davide Vecchi2
  • 1Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès, France
  • 2Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal

In this paper we propose to critically evaluate whether a closure of constraints interpretation can make sense of biotic entrenchment, the process of assimilation and functional integration of environmental elements of biotic origin in development and, eventually, evolution. In order to achieve the aims of our analysis, we shall focus on multi-species partnerships, biological systems characterised by ontogenetic dependencies of various strength between the partners. Our main research question is to tackle the foundational problem posed by the dynamics of biotic entrenchment characterising multi-species partnerships for the closure of constraints interpretation, namely, to understand for which biological system (i.e., the partners taken individually or the partnership as the encompassing system) closure of constraints is realised. Through the analysis of significant illustrative examples, we shall progressively refine the closure thesis and articulate an answer to our main research question. We shall also propose that biotic entrenchment provides a chief example of the phenomenon of interactive and horizontal construction of biological individuality and inter-identity.

Keywords: Autopoieisis, biological autonomy, philosophy of biology, Biological individuality emergent evolution, biological identity, Symbiosis, individuation

Received: 30 Apr 2019; Accepted: 31 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Hernández and Vecchi. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Isaac Hernández, Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès, Toulouse, 31058, France,