Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 153–159 | Cite as

Philosophy and the microbe: a balancing act

  • Maureen A. O’Malley

The cover of Biology and Philosophy features a trilobite, a fruit fly and an orchid; in other words, two animals and a plant. Until fairly recently, much of the content of the journal reflected this cover. As deep and interesting—in fact, as field-defining—as the many papers in Biology and Philosophy have been since the journal’s inception, they were predominantly about the biology of animals with the occasional plant thrown in for good measure. Other journals that published philosophy of biology stayed within those same organismal boundaries, as did books that were about the field as a whole. Eukaryotes other than plants and animals, such as fungi and protists, did occasionally gain a mention (e.g., David Hull discussed slime moulds in his classic 1976 paper on species as individuals), as did prokaryotes (e.g., Sterelny and Griffiths mentioned Bacteria and Archaea several times in 1999). But overall, these examples can be noted primarily for being exceptions and for the remarkably...


Evolutionary Transition Scientific Practice Biological Entity Explanatory Strategy Multicellular Eukaryote 
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I can’t thank enough Editor-in-Chief of Biology and Philosophy, Kim Sterelny, for suggesting this special issue, and the numerous referees (scientists and philosophers, working in tandem for every paper) who gave detailed and constructive reports on all these papers often within very tight time-lines. The production team and editorial office at Springer has been super-helpful and efficient—special thanks to Malgosia Slowinska and Bhavani Sridhar. Finally, I owe a debt of gratitude to all the authors who made such wonderful contributions despite so many other claims on their time, and who even managed to give considerable feedback on this introduction.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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