David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Acta Biotheoretica 58 (1):15-49 (2010)
The comprehension of living organisms in all their complexity poses a major challenge to the biological sciences. Recently, systems biology has been proposed as a new candidate in the development of such a comprehension. The main objective of this paper is to address what systems biology is and how it is practised. To this end, the basic tools of a systems biological approach are explored and illustrated. In addition, it is questioned whether systems biology ‘revolutionizes’ molecular biology and ‘transcends’ its assumed reductionism. The strength of this claim appears to depend on how molecular and systems biology are characterised and on how reductionism is interpreted. Doing credit to molecular biology and to methodological reductionism, it is argued that the distinction between molecular and systems biology is gradual rather than sharp. As such, the classical challenge in biology to manage, interpret and integrate biological data into functional wholes is further intensified by systems biology’s use of modelling and bioinformatics, and by its scale enlargement.
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Citations of this work BETA
Henrik Vogt, Elling Ulvestad, Thor Eirik Eriksen & Linn Getz (2014). Getting Personal: Can Systems Medicine Integrate Scientific and Humanistic Conceptions of the Patient? Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 20 (6):942-952.
Daniel J. Nicholson (2014). The Return of the Organism as a Fundamental Explanatory Concept in Biology. Philosophy Compass 9 (5):347-359.
Alexis De Tiège, Koen Tanghe, Johan Braeckman & Yves Van de Peer (2014). From DNA- to NA-Centrism and the Conditions for Gene-Centrism Revisited. Biology and Philosophy 29 (1):55-69.
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