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Understanding, virtually: How does the synthetic cell matter?

Broeks, Daphne and Knuuttila, Tarja and De Regt, Henk (2024) Understanding, virtually: How does the synthetic cell matter? In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

This paper examines how scientific understanding is enhanced by virtual entities, focusing on the case of the synthetic cell. Comparing it to other virtual entities and environments in science, we argue that the synthetic cell has a virtual dimension, in that it is functionally similar to living cells, though it does not mimic any particular naturally evolved cell (nor is it constructed to do so). In being cell-like at most, the synthetic cell is akin to many other virtual objects as it is selective and only partially implemented. However, there is one important difference: it is constructed by using the same materials and, to some extent, the same kind of processes as its natural counterparts. In contrast to virtual reality, especially to that of digital entities and environments, the details of its implementation is what matters for the scientific understanding generated by the synthetic cell. We conclude by arguing for the close connection between the virtual and the artifactual.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Broeks, Daphne
Knuuttila, Tarja
De Regt, Henk
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email m.zichert@tu-berlin.de
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2024 09:17
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2024 09:17
Item ID: 23041
Official URL: https://direct.mit.edu/posc/article/doi/10.1162/po...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1162/posc_a_00612
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 2024
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/23041

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