Network theoretical approaches have shaped our understanding of many different kinds of biological modularity. This essay makes the case that to capture these contributions, it is useful to think about the role of network models in exploratory research. The overall point is that it is possible to provide a systematic analysis of the exploratory functions of network models in bioscientific research. Using two examples from molecular and developmental biology, I argue that often the same modelling approach can perform one or more exploratory functions, such as introducing new directions of research, offering a complementary set of concepts, methods and algorithms for individuating important features of natural phenomena, generating proofs of principle demonstrations and potential explanations for phenomena of interest and enlarging the scope of certain research agendas. This article is part of the theme issue 'Unifying the essential concepts of biological networks: biological insights and philosophical foundations'.
|Journal||Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Early online date||24 Feb 2020|
|Publication status||Published - 13 Apr 2020|
- School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies - Lecturer in Philosophy
- Philosophy - Lecturer in Philosophy
Person: Academic, Teaching & Research