Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 42 (2):155-163 (2011)
A high profile context in which physics and biology meet today is in the new field of systems biology. Systems biology is a fascinating subject for sociological investigation because the demands of interdisciplinary collaboration have brought epistemological issues and debates front and centre in discussions amongst systems biologists in conference settings, in publications, and in laboratory coffee rooms. One could argue that systems biologists are conducting their own philosophy of science. This paper explores the epistemic aspirations of the field by drawing on interviews with scientists working in systems biology, attendance at systems biology conferences and workshops, and visits to systems biology laboratories. It examines the discourses of systems biologists, looking at how they position their work in relation to previous types of biological inquiry, particularly molecular biology. For example, they raise the issue of reductionism to distinguish systems biology from molecular biology. This comparison with molecular biology leads to discussions about the goals and aspirations of systems biology, including epistemic commitments to quantification, rigor and predictability. Some systems biologists aspire to make biology more similar to physics and engineering by making living systems calculable, modelable and ultimately predictable—a research programme that is perhaps taken to its most extreme form in systems biology’s sister discipline: synthetic biology. Other systems biologists, however, do not think that the standards of the physical sciences are the standards by which we should measure the achievements of systems biology, and doubt whether such standards will ever be applicable to ‘dirty, unruly living systems’. This paper explores these epistemic tensions and reflects on their sociological dimensions and their consequences for future work in the life sciences
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
Trading Zones and Interactional Expertise.Harry Collins, Robert Evans & Mike Gorman - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 38 (4):657-666.
Here is the Evidence, Now What is the Hypothesis? The Complementary Roles of Inductive and Hypothesis‐Driven Science in the Post‐Genomic Era.Douglas B. Kell & Stephen G. Oliver - 2004 - Bioessays 26 (1):99-105.
The Big Test of Corroboration.Darrell P. Rowbottom - 2008 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (3):293 – 302.
Disciplinary Baptisms: A Comparison of the Naming Stories of Genetics, Molecular Biology, Genomics and Systems Biology.Alexander Powell, Maureen A. O'Malley, Staffan Mueller-Wille, Jane Calvert & John Dupré - 2007 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 29 (1):5-32.
Approximations, Idealizations and 'Experiments' at the Physics-Biology Interface.Darrell P. Rowbottom - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):145-154.
Citations of this work BETA
The Roles of Integration in Molecular Systems Biology.Maureen A. O'Malley & Orkun S. Soyer - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):58-68.
Basic Science Through Engineering? Synthetic Modeling and the Idea of Biology-Inspired Engineering.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (2):158-169.
Varieties of Noise: Analogical Reasoning in Synthetic Biology.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 48:76-88.
Modeling Systems-Level Dynamics: Understanding Without Mechanistic Explanation in Integrative Systems Biology.Miles MacLeod & Nancy J. Nersessian - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 49:1-11.
Synthetic Biology Between Technoscience and Thing Knowledge.Axel Gelfert - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (2):141-149.
Similar books and articles
Some Thoughts on A. H. Louie's “More Than Life Itself: A Reflection on Formal Systems and Biology”. [REVIEW]Claudio Gutiérrez, Sebastián Jaramillo & Jorge Soto-Andrade - 2011 - Axiomathes 21 (3):439-454.
Systems Biology: Philosophical Foundations.Fred C. Boogerd, Frank J. Bruggeman, Jan-Hendrik S. Hofmeyr & Hans V. Westerhoff (eds.) - 2007 - Elsevier.
The Road From Interdisciplinary Studies to Complexity.William H. Newell - 2011 - World Futures 67 (4-5):330 - 342.
The Fusion of Biology, Computer Science, and Engineering: Towards Efficient and Successful Synthetic Biology.Gregory Linshiz, Alex Goldberg, Tania Konry & Nathan J. Hillson - 2013 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 55 (4):503-520.
Artificial Life.Mark Bedau - 2003 - In Luciano Floridi (ed.), Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Computing and Information. Blackwell. pp. 505-512.
Systems Biology, Synthetic Biology and Data-Driven Research: A Commentary on Krohs, Callebaut, and O'Malley and Soyer.Jane Calvert - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):81-84.
Ins and Outs of Systems Biology Vis-À-Vis Molecular Biology: Continuation or Clear Cut?Philippe De Backer, Danny De Waele & Linda Van Speybroeck - 2010 - Acta Biotheoretica 58 (1):15-49.
Artificial Life X.L. M. Rocha, L. S. Yaeger, M. A. Bedeau, D. Floreano, R. L. Goldstone & Alessandro Vespignani - unknown
Cognitive Biology: Dealing with Information From Bacteria to Minds.Gennaro Auletta - 2011 - Oxford University Press, Usa.
Closure, Function, Emergence, Semiosis and Life: The Same Idea? Reflections on the Concrete and the Abstract in Theoretical Biology.Claus Emmeche - 2000 - Philosophical Explorations.
Added to index2011-09-12
Total downloads33 ( #153,796 of 2,158,205 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #133,787 of 2,158,205 )
How can I increase my downloads?