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Individual Differences, Uniqueness, and Individuality in Behavioural Ecology

Trappes, Rose (2022) Individual Differences, Uniqueness, and Individuality in Behavioural Ecology. [Preprint]


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In this paper I develop a concept of behavioural ecological individuality. Using findings from a case study which employed qualitative methods, I argue that individuality in behavioural ecology should be defined as phenotypic and ecological uniqueness, a concept that is operationalised in terms of individual differences such as animal personality and individual specialisation. This account make sense of how the term “individuality” is used in relation to intrapopulation variation in behavioural ecology. The concept of behavioural ecological individuality can sometimes be used to identify individuals. It also shapes research agendas and methodological choices in behavioural ecology, leading researchers to account for individuals as sources of variation. Overall, this paper draws attention to a field that has been largely overlooked in philosophical discussions of biological individuality and highlights the importance of individual differences and uniqueness for individuality in behavioural ecology.

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Item Type: Preprint
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Studies of History and Philosophy of Science
Keywords: Individuality, Uniqueness, Animal personality, Individual specialisation, Individual differences, Operationalisation
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
Depositing User: Dr Rose Trappes
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2022 09:49
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2022 09:49
Item ID: 21022
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
Date: 5 August 2022

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