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What Makes an Individual?

In this episode, we discussed what makes an individual, where one thing starts and another ends. We were prompted to ask this question after discovering an article about the migration of forests, which frames a collective of trees (forest) as a cohesive entity.

“They Carry Us With Them: The Great Tree Migration” Emergence Magazine

Are individuals defined in space or time or both?

“The information theory of individuality” David Krakauer et al. (2020) argue that individual preserve temporal information

This is mentioned in Quanta Magazine’s 2020 Biggest Breakthroughs in Biology

“A Matter of Individuality” David L. Hull (1978) argues individuality is spatiotemporal

What anchors us to our identity as an individual? We discussed the role of memory.

“River of Consciousness” Oliver Sacks, chapter entitled "The Fallibility of Memory"

To what extent are individuals defined by their interactions with their environment?

Clara forgot the word collectivism, but discussed the concept of communitarianism

Returning to the idea of a forest as an individual, mycelium networks play a large role in this

How relative is our perception of individuality? Is it a matter of scale?

“Solaris” (1972) Andrei Tarkovsky


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