Waddington redux: models and explanation in stem cell and systems biology

Biology and Philosophy 27 (2):179-213 (2012)
Abstract
Stem cell biology and systems biology are two prominent new approaches to studying cell development. In stem cell biology, the predominant method is experimental manipulation of concrete cells and tissues. Systems biology, in contrast, emphasizes mathematical modeling of cellular systems. For scientists and philosophers interested in development, an important question arises: how should the two approaches relate? This essay proposes an answer, using the model of Waddington’s landscape to triangulate between stem cell and systems approaches. This simple abstract model represents development as an undulating surface of hills and valleys. Originally constructed by C. H. Waddington to visually explicate an integrated theory of genetics, development and evolution, the landscape model can play an updated unificatory role. I examine this model’s structure, representational assumptions, and uses in all three contexts, and argue that explanations of cell development require both mathematical models and concrete experiments. On this view, the two approaches are interdependent, with mathematical models playing a crucial but circumscribed role in explanations of cell development
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,404
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
William Bechtel (2005). Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
William Bechtel (2010). The Cell: Locus or Object of Inquiry? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (3):172-182.

View all 10 references

Citations of this work BETA
Jan Baedke (2013). The Epigenetic Landscape in the Course of Time: Conrad Hal Waddington's Methodological Impact on the Life Sciences. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):756-773.
Ingo Brigandt (2013). Systems Biology and the Integration of Mechanistic Explanation and Mathematical Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):477-492.
Maureen A. O'Malley (2014). Exemplary Philosophy of Science: How to Do It. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45:149-152.
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-10-04

Total downloads

37 ( #47,492 of 1,102,977 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #29,688 of 1,102,977 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.