The history of scientific concepts has firmly settled among the instruments of historical inquiry. In our section we approach concepts from the perspective of nomadic concepts (Isabelle Stengers). Instead of following the evolution of concepts within one disciplinary network, we see them as subject to constant reification and change while crossing and turning across disciplines and non-scientific domains. This introduction argues that understanding modern biology is not possible without taking into account the constant transfers and translations that affected concepts. We argue that this approach does not only engage with nomadism between disciplines and non-scientific domains, but reflects on and involves the metaphoric value of concepts as well.
Some biologists and philosophers of biology claim selection can "create" novel traits. Others claim creativity is to be found only in development. I here endorse the former claim, but take seriously and address the concerns that underlie the latter. My discussion of these issues is informed by recent work that champions the "return of the organism" to mainstream evolutionary biology, and I suggest how population and organismal perspectives on trait origins can be reconciled.