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Lecture: What is an Organism?
Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 4:00pm

The Department of Philosophy at Portland State University invites you to

"What is an Organism?"

By Dr. John Dupre
Professor of Philosophy of Science, University of Exeter
Director, ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society

Thursday, April 11
Smith Memorial Student Union | Rm 236
Portland State University

About the lecture: A still standard view of biology sees living things as a fairly unproblematic category. They divide between unicellular organisms (bacteria, protists, etc.), or multicellular organisms (animals, plants, some fungi). I will show how this picture oversimplifies the reality of living systems as we now understand it, and that this makes the largely unquestioned category of organisms highly problematic. I will argue that the most fundamental type of living things is a collaboration between many kinds of organisms, as traditionally conceived, or more accurately, between segments of many biological lineages. In conclusion, I shall suggest that these phenomena can be better understood when we take seriously the ultimately processual character of living beings.  

Dr. John Dupre will also be a speaker at the Linus Pauling Memorial Lecture Series on Friday, April 12. For more information visit