Article ID: CBB544144558

Mutualistic viruses and the heteronomy of life (2016)


Though viruses have generally been characterized by their pathogenic and more generally harmful effects, many examples of mutualistic viruses exist. Here I explain how the idea of mutualistic viruses has been defended in recent virology, and I explore four important conceptual and practical consequences of this idea. I ask to what extent this research modifies the way scientists might search for new viruses, our notion of how the host immune system interacts with microbes, the development of new therapeutic approaches, and, finally, the role played by the criterion of autonomy in our understanding of living things. Overall, I suggest that the recognition of mutualistic viruses plays a major role in a wider ongoing revision of our conception of viruses.

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Authors & Contributors
Löwy, Illana
Kisselev, Lev L.
Levina, Elena S.
Rodríguez Ocaña, Esteban
Gachelin, Gabriel
Dodier, Nicolas
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Dynamis: Acta Hispanica ad Medicinae Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam
Science in Context
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Medical History
Smithsonian Books
University of Chicago Press
Oxford University Press
Academic Press
Monash University Publishing
Therapeutic practice; therapy; treatment
Zil'ber, Lev Aleksandrovich
Pasteur, Louis
Koch, Robert
Hilleman, Maurice
Malthus, Thomas Robert
Volterra, Vito
Time Periods
20th century, late
20th century
19th century
21st century
20th century, early
United States
Institut Pasteur, Paris

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