Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 885–895

In defense of the organism

Thomas Pradeu (Elizabeth Vitanza, trans.): The limits of the self: immunology and biological identity. Oxford University Press, New York, 2012, ix+302 pp, $65 HB, ISBN: 978-0-19-977528-6
Book Review

DOI: 10.1007/s10539-014-9457-8

Cite this article as:
Haber, M.H. Biol Philos (2014) 29: 885. doi:10.1007/s10539-014-9457-8


Thomas Pradeu’s The Limits of the Self provides a precise account of biological identity developed from the central concepts of immunology. Yet the central concepts most relevant to this task (self and nonself) are themselves deemed inadequate, suffering from ambiguity and imprecision. Pradeu seeks to remedy this by proposing a new guiding theory for immunology, the continuity theory. From this, an account of biological identity is provided in terms of uniqueness and individuality, ultimately leading to a defense of the heterogeneous organism as expressing the highest degree of individuality.


Immunology Organism Development Physiology Identity Self-nonself 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Center for Quantitative BiologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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