Authors
Tarja Knuuttila
University of Vienna
Andrea Loettgers
University of Vienna
Abstract
In which respects do modeling and experimenting resemble or differ from each other? We explore this question through studying in detail the combinatorial strategy in synthetic biology whereby scientists triangulate experimentation on model organisms, mathematical modeling, and synthetic modeling. We argue that this combinatorial strategy is due to the characteristic constraints of the three epistemic activities. Moreover, our case study shows that in some cases materiality clearly matters, in fact it provides the very rationale of synthetic modeling. We will show how the materialities of the different kinds of models – biological components versus mathematical symbols – in combination with their different structures – the complexity of biological organisms versus the isolated network structure and its mathematical dynamics - define the spectrum of epistemic possibilities in synthetic biology. Furthermore, our case shows that from the perspective of scientific practice the question of whether or not simulations are like or unlike experiments is often beside the point, since they are used to accomplish different kinds of things.
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References found in this work BETA

The Strategy of Model-Based Science.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):725-740.
Who is a Modeler?M. Weisberg - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (2):207-233.
Mechanism and Biological Explanation.William Bechtel - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (4):533-557.

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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: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):58-68.
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: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):58-68.
When One Model is Not Enough: Combining Epistemic Tools in Systems Biology.Sara Green - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (2):170-180.

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