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The epistemology of biomimetics: the role of models and of morphogenetic principles

Krohs, Ulrich (2021) The epistemology of biomimetics: the role of models and of morphogenetic principles. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Form follows function. But form does not follow from function. It is not derivable from the latter. For realizing a desired technical function, first of all a form needs to be found that is able to realize it at all. Secondly the question arises whether an envisaged form realizes the function in a good way. Functions are multiply realizable – various different forms can bear the very same function. One needs to find a form of a technical artifact that realizes an envisaged function sufficiently efficient, robust, or whatever criteria might be imposed. This paper scrutinizes into biomimetics as one way to find a good solution to the realization problem. Drawing on an approach from the philosophy of simulations, it reconstructs the biomimetic relation as being mediated by a theoretical model. It is shown that robustness of the functioning system is usually reached in different ways in biological and in technological systems, which explains differences in morphogenetic mechanisms or principles found these fields. This reconstruction helps understanding problems with robustness in synthetic biology that occur when technical design principles are implemented in a biological system. The mimetic relation between the biological and the technical realm turns out to be asymmetric.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
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Krohs, Ulrich
Keywords: biological function, evolution, iGEM, morphogenesis, robustness, simulation, systems biology, technical function
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Specific Sciences > Engineering
Depositing User: Ulrich Krohs
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2021 13:24
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2021 13:24
Item ID: 18859
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Specific Sciences > Engineering
Date: 10 March 2021
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18859

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