Boundary Questions Between Ontology and Biology



This chapter deals with some problems linking biology and ontology. After a general survey of the most prominent ontological questions lying behind biology, the study case of biological boundaries is addressed. The scrutiny of the relevant literature shows that biologists speak of various types of boundary: perceptual, compositional, epithelial, cellular and sensu lato processual boundaries; all of them appear to be, in a way or another, flawed by some theoretical inconsistencies. So, a new concept of organismic boundary is introduced and discussed, by which the organismic boundary is the (concrete) part of an organism which spatially encompasses all and only the other (concrete) parts of that organism.


Coherent System Organismic Boundary Living Body Processual Boundary Developmental System Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work is supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, and is part of the Research Project ‘The Organism in Interdisciplinary Context’ of the STOQ Project. I thank my friend and philosopher Alberto Bertini for helpful comments and incessant encouragement, Roberto Poli for having invited me to reflect more carefully upon the links between ontology and biology, and an anonymous referee for his or her valuable suggestions.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pontifical University ‘Regina Apostolorum’RomeItaly

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