Authors
John Dupre
University of Exeter
Alexander Powell
University of Exeter
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 Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
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Top-Down Causation Without Top-Down Causes.Carl F. Craver & William Bechtel - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (4):547-563.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S342-S353.

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Citations of this work BETA

Genidentity and Biological Processes.Thomas Pradeu - 2018 - In Daniel J. Nicholson & John Dupre (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. Oxford University Press.
Multiple Realizability as a Design Heuristic in Biological Engineering.Rami Koskinen - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):15.

View all 17 citations / Add more citations

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