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The "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics" in biology and the fallacy from complexity

Greslehner, Gregor P. (2018) The "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics" in biology and the fallacy from complexity. Gabriele M. Mras, Paul Weingartner & Bernhard Ritter (eds.) Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society Volume XXVI. Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics. Contributions of the 41st International Wittgenstein Symposium. pp. 70-72.

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Abstract

A frequently put forward argument claims that biological systems are too complex for mathematical methods to be fruitfully applied. I argue that this argument from complexity is a fallacy. To the contrary, it is exactly the complexity of biological systems which calls for the use of mathematical methods. While some research strategies in molecular biology used to be less accessible for mathematical analysis, the emergence of systems biology as a scientific discipline is the most recent example of successful and effective applications of mathematical methods in biology. In today’s scientific practice, there is evidence for the "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics" in biology, differing from traditional mathematical biology, thus giving new support to a notion that still cannot be taken for granted.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Greslehner, Gregor P.gregor.greslehner@gmail.com0000-0002-4072-8229
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Applicability
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Depositing User: Dr. Gregor P. Greslehner
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2019 16:18
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2019 16:18
Item ID: 16635
Journal or Publication Title: Gabriele M. Mras, Paul Weingartner & Bernhard Ritter (eds.) Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society Volume XXVI. Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics. Contributions of the 41st International Wittgenstein Symposium
Publisher: Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Applicability
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Date: 2018
Page Range: pp. 70-72
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16635

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