1. bookVolume 9 (2017): Issue 47 (December 2017)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2182-2875
First Published
16 Apr 2017
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Causal Concepts Guiding Model Specification in Systems Biology

Published Online: 16 Oct 2018
Volume & Issue: Volume 9 (2017) - Issue 47 (December 2017)
Page range: 499 - 527
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2182-2875
First Published
16 Apr 2017
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

In this paper I analyze the process by which modelers in systems biology arrive at an adequate representation of the biological structures thought to underlie data gathered from high-throughput experiments. Contrary to views that causal claims and explanations are rare in systems biology, I argue that in many studies of gene regulatory networks modelers aim at a representation of causal structure. In addressing modeling challenges, they draw on assumptions informed by theory and pragmatic considerations in a manner that is guided by an interventionist conception of causal structure. While doubts have been raised about the applicability of this notion of causality to complex biological systems, it is here seen to be an adequate guide to inquiry.

Keywords

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