Rethinking the Nature of Immunity Martin Zach
Rethinking the Nature of Immunity
Martin Zach Analytic Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences
How should we think about immunity? Many immunological writings suggest an immediate option: the view that the immune system is primarily a system of defense, which naturally invites the talk of strong immunity and strong immune response. We argue two things. First, we argue that the immune system is involved not only in defense. Second, by disentangling various possible meanings of ‘strength’ and ‘weakness’ in immunology, we also argue that such a construal of immunity generally contributes to the distortion of the overall picture of what the immune system is, what it does, and why it sometimes fails. Instead, we propose to understand the nature of the immune system in terms of contextuality, regulation, and trade-offs. We suggest that our approach provides lessons for a general understanding of the organizing principles of the immune system in health and disease. For all this to work, we discuss a wide range of immunological phenomena.
Commentator: Alan C. Love, Philosophy, University of Minnesota