In this first podcast for the Creating Life project, our host Marjolein Pijnappels goes into conversation with Dan Molter. Dan is a naturalist, expert mushroom photographer, and lecturer of philosophy University of Tennessee Knoxville. His research is in scientific metaphysics, with a focus on questions of biological individuality. Questions, such as “What is an organism?”, are answered in the context of scientific theories and models, and these latter tend to carve nature in incongruent ways. In this podcast, Marjolein talks to Dan about the life cycle and multiplicity of mushrooms, and ventures into the analogy of mushroom’s multitude to human beings: Where does the individual end and the other begin? And what is a species anyway? Is it a group of organisms? Must they be similar in some way?

About the project:

In the project Creatig Life in collaboration with Marjolein Pijnappels, we explore how life is created and sustained on our planet. Taking a closer look at human birth, mycorrhiza connectivity, chimerism and the pan-microbiome from a philosophical and personal perspective, Marjolein aims to shed light on the different aspects of the ability to bring new life into the world. Earlier, Marjolein wrote the article You Are a Planet Swarming with Life, for the Future Based platform.

This research will run from June through December 2021, begins with a personal examination and reflection on the three topics around the theme “Creating Life”: Life Cycle, Multitudes, Networked Beings. Marjolein curates images, creates videos, voice memos, and illustrations. During that same period, Marjolein engages in conversations with scientists and artists and filmmakers to discuss her ideas. The final result of three video essays, will be part of a meetup and published on our website.


00:00:00 Introduction / 00:01:50 Individuality and Mushrooms and Darwinian individuals / 00:05:00 Mushrooms and human beings / 00:08:00 Are we ever ourselves? / 00:12:00 We are waves propagating through matter / 00:13:00 Memory Theory of Identity /00:15:00 Multitudes and collective reproduction / 00:19:00 What did Darwin miss? / 00:22:00 The story is not centred around humans / 00:24:00 Outro

Further Reading:

Dan Molter on

Articles on PhilPeople

Memory Theory of Identity

Darwinian Individuality