Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Philosophy

Content Description

1 online resource (v, 167 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

P.D. Magnus

Committee Members

Monika Piotrowska, Ron McClamrock


biology, fission, genes, genomes, species, Evolutionary developmental biology, Fission (Biology), Genomics, Evolution (Biology), Microorganisms, Microbial genetics, Biology

Subject Categories

Philosophy | Philosophy of Science


This dissertation considers various examples of change and continuity in biology. In particular, it focuses on the conceptual possibilities during the fission of microorganisms and genes when they multiply or replicate. Among the kinds of conceptual revision that are outlined in the first two chapters, the three chapter argues that certain concepts such as death, reproduction and organism have limited applicability in certain domains of biology. The fourth chapter investigates whether synthetic genomes should be considered parts of genetic lineages. It concludes that synthetic genomes are parts of the lineages upon which they were modeled. The final chapter aims to resolve a critique of the species-as-individuals thesis, which is that certain species appear to have gaps in their temporal historicity. It argues that certain species that appear historically “gappy” may be historically unified when we can see that species are sometimes composed of ecological parts.