Di Andrea Gambarotto, Luca Illetterati

In: The Notion of Organism. Historical and Conceptual Approaches XLIII , No. 1-4 ( 2014 )

Sezione Prefazione / Introduction


In recent years several pieces of scholarship have manifested a renewed interest in the concept of organism. This interest has led to an overall reassessment from different perspectives, operating a fruitful dialogue among historians, philosophers and biologists. At the same time, the importance granted to historical and conceptual approaches has consistently increased. Historians and philosophers of science have in fact produced important analyses of the emergence and transformation of the concept, highlighting the connections between the discussion of organisms originated in the 18th century and contemporary biological debates. Within this framework, the role of Kant appears to be particularly significant. Eminent scholars have even portrayed Kant’s view of organisms as the template of developmental biology and self-organization theory. Yet, while most recent contributions situate the notion of organism within the framework of contemporary philosophy of biology, the history of concept remains still a minority option. This special issue aims at partially filling this gap.