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John Dupré (Egenis, University of Exeter, UK), What are viruses? Parasites, processes, parts or all of the above?
12 September 2022 | 17 h 30 min - 19 h 00 min
John Dupré is Professor of Philosophy of science at the University of Exeter (UK), with a main focus on philosophy of biology. He is the Director of Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences.
People still often think that viruses are tiny little things that cause disease by parasitizing larger organisms. Here I argue that viruses are not things, but processes, and while some do, of course, cause serious disease, many or even most may be important positive contributors to larger biological systems. Finally, returning to the mistaken characterization of viruses as things rather than processes, I show how this erroneous reification may have seriously harmful consequences for research.