Immunity: The Evolution of an Idea

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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 thanserving 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 which immunity 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 theimmune system. Organisms have a complex capacity to respond to environment, and, through Tauber's insignts, 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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ISBN-13: 9780190651244
ISBN-10: 0190651245
Pagini: 328
Dimensiuni: 177 x 242 x 29 mm
Greutate: 0.58 kg
Editura: Oxford University Press
Colecția OUP USA
Locul publicării: New York, United States


no one can deny the unique pleasure to be gained in revisiting an old haunt or re-reading a favourite book. The latter is the type of pleasure in store for those readers of Immunity: the Evolution of an Idea who are familiar with author Alfred Tauber's formidable corpus of work on the philosophy and history of immunology. ... All in all ... Tauber's capstone is an admirable synthesis of his years of thinking about and engaging with the philosophy of one ofthe core tenets of immunology.
An obligatory reading for praticing immunologists, historians, philosophers and sociologists of science.
Alfred Tauber updates discussions on some of the central questions of immunology in a most embracing manner, discussing general concepts and theories in their historical context, considering their origin and evolution, while bringing forth novel ideas and unexplored relationships between notions that, in one way or another, have been around, often thanks to Taubers writings. This is an excellent piece of scholarship, which, while theoretical, is attentive toempirical data and views, and makes a very significant contribution to the field.
Fred Tauber has provided a stimulating new interpretation of the development of immunology that shows how the discipline has begun to be embraced by biologys recent ecological turn. The result is a contextual view of immune cognition mediated by a dialectical interaction between organism and environment. This book will be of compelling interest to a wide audience including theoretical biologists and philosophers of science.
Tauber, in his past books, taught us about the people, the ideas and the experimental pursuits that created the field of immunology. Todays applications of immunity to cancer, vaccination and cell therapies beget a new immunology. Tauber, in this book, ushers us into a new way of thinking.
Drawing on extensive knowledge of historical, philosophical and scientific literature, it abolishes the simplistic, militaristic vision of the immune system and establishes a new paradigm for how we think about our interactions with the microbial world...will certainly become an important reference point for generations of researchers and theoreticians interested in immunology fundamentals.

Notă biografică

Alfred I. Tauber, is Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus and Zoltan Kohn Professor of Medicine, Emeritus at Boston University, where he served as Director of the Center for Philosophy and History of Science from 1993 to 2010. Author of The Immune Self (Cambridge 1994) and co-author of Metchnikoff and the Origins of Immunology (Oxford 1991) and the Generation of Diversity (Harvard 1997), he has also published extensively in ethics and sciencestudies.