Research Topic

'Inter-identities' in Life, Mind, and Society

About this Research Topic

Despite the extraordinary development of science in modern times and the knowledge generated through it, we still struggle to understand and model complexity in the living, the cognitive and the social domains. Such systems challenge classical analytic and reductionist approaches: they show emergent dynamic behaviors that cannot be explained only in terms of the properties of their component parts, and construct their identities in ways that are difficult to decompose and measure. Therefore, these systems keep forcing researchers to conceive of alternative strategies to grasp their nature and dynamics. One such strategy involves exploring the relevance of interactions with other systems and the environment.

Indeed, a key feature of complex systems is that they arise in interaction with the environment, including other complex systems with which they relate. The challenge they pose is double, because they entail systemic relations among parts and relationships of the constituted entity with other systems, their boundaries being often fuzzy. Thus, in addition to “vertical” complexity, the “horizontal” organization of this identity needs to be accounted for in interactions with others and the environment. Studying interactive processes of this kind in biological, cognitive, and social systems is a pending task for several fields of science and philosophy. The scope of natural and artificial examples and topics for thinking and modelling is wide in domains including the physiological, evolutionary and medical realm, also the mental and intersubjective, and extending to socio political agencies.

‘Inter-identity’ is a word we have composed with the aim to integrate the various dimensions and phenomenologies encountered by research into these kinds of complexities within a single expression. Issues of identity in biological, cognitive and social, biomedical, educational and political systems closely relate to aspects of individuality and individuation, but we are particularly interested in identifying phenomena occurring at the intersections and as the result of relations beyond individuality. Certainly, these problems are also relevant in artificial or computational models and devices built for research on living, cognitive and social phenomena. To solve these issues, we need to combine theoretical and empirical (operational) approaches, as a number of similarities can be drawn across domains or areas of research.

We propose this Research Topic within the multidisciplinary scope provided by Frontiers precisely to put together different descriptions of complex systems that comprise ‘inter-identities’, within the biological, cognitive and social spheres, along with the necessary conceptual philosophical work required to deal with the variety of cases, and with a special emphasis on theoretical and philosophical issues of Psychology.

The present Research Topic welcomes review papers or original research articles on relevant scientific and philosophical aspects of identity in interaction, including the following:
- Evolutionary and developmental aspects of interactive dynamics relevant for identity
- Participatory sense-making and social-embodied identity
- Biological, cognitive and social individuality related to identity
- Models or theories for the emergence of identity in origins of life, astrobiology and synthetic biology
- The notion of identity pertaining to current systems approaches in fields like cell, plant or animal physiology
- Communication models/theories that involve a strong concept of identity
- Identity in biomedical contexts, mental and somatic, autonomy and interactive aspects
- Agency and sensorimotor processes of identity
- Techno-political inter-identity and collective decision making
- Identity, educational backgrounds and cultural conflicts


Keywords: complexity, individuality, interaction, agency, relational autonomy


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Despite the extraordinary development of science in modern times and the knowledge generated through it, we still struggle to understand and model complexity in the living, the cognitive and the social domains. Such systems challenge classical analytic and reductionist approaches: they show emergent dynamic behaviors that cannot be explained only in terms of the properties of their component parts, and construct their identities in ways that are difficult to decompose and measure. Therefore, these systems keep forcing researchers to conceive of alternative strategies to grasp their nature and dynamics. One such strategy involves exploring the relevance of interactions with other systems and the environment.

Indeed, a key feature of complex systems is that they arise in interaction with the environment, including other complex systems with which they relate. The challenge they pose is double, because they entail systemic relations among parts and relationships of the constituted entity with other systems, their boundaries being often fuzzy. Thus, in addition to “vertical” complexity, the “horizontal” organization of this identity needs to be accounted for in interactions with others and the environment. Studying interactive processes of this kind in biological, cognitive, and social systems is a pending task for several fields of science and philosophy. The scope of natural and artificial examples and topics for thinking and modelling is wide in domains including the physiological, evolutionary and medical realm, also the mental and intersubjective, and extending to socio political agencies.

‘Inter-identity’ is a word we have composed with the aim to integrate the various dimensions and phenomenologies encountered by research into these kinds of complexities within a single expression. Issues of identity in biological, cognitive and social, biomedical, educational and political systems closely relate to aspects of individuality and individuation, but we are particularly interested in identifying phenomena occurring at the intersections and as the result of relations beyond individuality. Certainly, these problems are also relevant in artificial or computational models and devices built for research on living, cognitive and social phenomena. To solve these issues, we need to combine theoretical and empirical (operational) approaches, as a number of similarities can be drawn across domains or areas of research.

We propose this Research Topic within the multidisciplinary scope provided by Frontiers precisely to put together different descriptions of complex systems that comprise ‘inter-identities’, within the biological, cognitive and social spheres, along with the necessary conceptual philosophical work required to deal with the variety of cases, and with a special emphasis on theoretical and philosophical issues of Psychology.

The present Research Topic welcomes review papers or original research articles on relevant scientific and philosophical aspects of identity in interaction, including the following:
- Evolutionary and developmental aspects of interactive dynamics relevant for identity
- Participatory sense-making and social-embodied identity
- Biological, cognitive and social individuality related to identity
- Models or theories for the emergence of identity in origins of life, astrobiology and synthetic biology
- The notion of identity pertaining to current systems approaches in fields like cell, plant or animal physiology
- Communication models/theories that involve a strong concept of identity
- Identity in biomedical contexts, mental and somatic, autonomy and interactive aspects
- Agency and sensorimotor processes of identity
- Techno-political inter-identity and collective decision making
- Identity, educational backgrounds and cultural conflicts


Keywords: complexity, individuality, interaction, agency, relational autonomy


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 April 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 April 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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