Small things, big consequences: microbiological perspectives on biology

Michael J. Duncan, Pierrick Bourrat, Jennifer DeBerardinis, Maureen A. O'Malley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Microbiology is a broad-ranging area of research that has developed out of 400 years of observation, analysis and theorizing about microscopic life forms. The study of microbes has not yet received a great deal of attention from philosophy of biology, but there are many reasons why it should. In this chapter, we outline the value of thinking philosophically about microbes and microbiology via a discussion of concepts of life, biological individuals and levels of selection. These discussions will show how taking a philosophical perspective on microbiological studies can enrich not only microbiology but also biology in general and its philosophy. We conclude by drawing out some of the implications of philosophical perspectives on microbiology for educational strategies in the teaching of biology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Philosophy of biology
Subtitle of host publicationa companion for educators
EditorsKostas Kampourakis
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9789400765375
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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