Immunity: The Evolution of an Idea

Hardcover | January 30, 2017

byAlfred I. Tauber

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Senior scholar Alfred Tauber argues in this bold account that common approaches to the study of immunology are inherently flawed in its strict dichotomy of the self and non-self, or external invaders. The relationship between what is self and what is non-self is in reality a complex, dymanic,relational one. Autonomous agents are constantly in the midst of dialectical exchanges in which immunity mediates both noxious and benign encounters. Namely: rather than serving to defend an independent entity, immunity participates in an eco-system. Contemporary transplantation biology and autoimmunity have demonstrated phenomena that upset rigid adherence to the self/non-self dichotomy. Placing tolerant immune mechanisms within a broad ecological context has highlighted the balance of co-operative and competitive relationships in whichimmunity functions. By understanding immunity this way, as a "symbiotic turn", we come to see that immune reactivity (rejection or tolerance) is a second-order response to the cognitive functions of the immune system. Organisms have a complex capacity to respond to environment, and, through Tauber'sinsignts, we appreciate them more fully when we grasp the flexibility of the borders of organisms.After first providing an overview of the history of immunology, and explaining why the dominant understanding of it is incomplete and limiting, Tauber argues for this new approach to immunology and explains how it will usher in a new biology in which symbiosis is the rule, not the exception.

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Senior scholar Alfred Tauber argues in this bold account that common approaches to the study of immunology are inherently flawed in its strict dichotomy of the self and non-self, or external invaders. The relationship between what is self and what is non-self is in reality a complex, dymanic,relational one. Autonomous agents are consta...

Alfred I. Tauber, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Zoltan Kohn Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Boston University, was Director of the Center for Philosophy and History of Science, 1993-2010. He has published extensively in ethics and science studies with an emphasis on the critical examination of immunology's theory and historica...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:January 30, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190651245

ISBN - 13:9780190651244

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"An obligatory reading for praticing immunologists, historians, philosophers and sociologists of science." --Nelson Vaz, Professor Emeritus of Biology, Federal University of Minas Gerais