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Systems Biology and Mechanistic Explanation

Brigandt, Ingo and Green, Sara and O'Malley, Maureen (2016) Systems Biology and Mechanistic Explanation. [Preprint]

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Abstract

We address the question of whether and to what extent explanatory and modelling strategies in systems biology are mechanistic. After showing how dynamic mathematical models are actually required for mechanistic explanations of complex systems, we caution readers against expecting all systems biology to be about mechanistic explanations. Instead, the aim may be to generate topological explanations that are not standardly mechanistic, or to arrive at design principles that explain system organization and behaviour in general, but not specific mechanisms. These abstraction strategies serve various aims, including prediction and control, that are central to understanding the epistemic diversity of systems biology.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Brigandt, Ingobrigandt@ualberta.ca
Green, Sarasara.green@ind.ku.dk
O'Malley, Maureenmaureen.omalley@u-bordeaux.fr
Additional Information: Preprint of a chapter forthcoming in The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy, edited by Stuart Glennan and Phyllis Illari.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: Ingo Brigandt
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2016 16:42
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2016 16:42
Item ID: 12273
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: 2016
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12273

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