From molecules to systems: the importance of looking both ways

Abstract
Although molecular biology has meant different things at different times, the term is often associated with a tendency to view cellular causation as conforming to simple linear schemas in which macro-scale effects are specified by micro-scale structures. The early achievements of molecular biologists were important for the formation of such an outlook, one to which the discovery of recombinant DNA techniques, and a number of other findings, gave new life even after the complexity of genotype–phenotype
relations had become apparent. Against this background we outline how a range of scientific developments and conceptual considerations can be regarded as enabling and perhaps necessitating contemporary systems approaches. We suggest that philosophical ideas have a valuable part to play in making sense of complex scientific and disciplinary issues.
Keywords molecular biology  systems biology  reductionism  emergence  mechanism  networks
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2008.12.007
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References found in this work BETA
The Sciences of the Artificial.Herbert A. Simon - 1969 - [Cambridge, M.I.T. Press.
Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
Top-Down Causation Without Top-Down Causes.Carl F. Craver & William Bechtel - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (4):547-563.

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Citations of this work BETA
The Redoubtable Cell.Andrew Reynolds - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (3):194-201.

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