The Biological Notion of Self and Non-self

[Revised entry by Alfred Tauber on May 21, 2015. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Fundamental to biology are (1) defining the characteristics of identity, which distinguish individual
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[Revised entry by Alfred Tauber on May 21, 2015. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Fundamental to biology are (1) defining the characteristics of identity, which distinguish individual organisms from those of similar kind, and (2) describing the mechanisms that defend organisms from their predators. Immunology is the science devoted to these problems. A progeny of late 19th-century microbiology and the clinical discipline of infectious diseases, immunology did not attain a formal theoretical construction until after World War II, when "the self" was introduced as the conceptual foundation of a new theory of immunity. In...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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