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Thomas Pradeu

Thomas Pradeu

Fellow, 2020-21 Study #34

Thomas Pradeu is a philosopher of science. At CASBS, he will try to connect the biological sciences with the social sciences to understand how a multiplicity of entities becomes a group, and how a group becomes a new individual, but also how an individual dissolves into a group, and how a group dissolves into a multiplicity of entities. His project is to determine whether there exist some general principles that would be applicable to both living and social systems – some rules that would favor cooperation and functional integration.

He will do a comparative investigation of four case studies: i) in evolutionary biology, the transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms; ii) in physiology, the constitution of a temporary multicellular entity in some organisms such as social amoebas; iii) in behavioral ecology, “superorganisms” in social insects; iv) in social science, the passage from a multiplicity of individuals to a provisional group.

Thomas is a senior researcher at CNRS in Bordeaux, France, where he founded the Conceptual Biology & Medicine Group, a group of philosophers embedded in an immunology lab. His book The Limits of the Self: Immunology and Biological Identity (Oxford University Press, 2012) received the Lakatos Award.

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