Systems biology, emergence and antireductionism.
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This study explores the conceptual history of systems biology and its impact on philosophical and scientific conceptions of reductionism, antireductionism and emergence. Development of systems biology at the beginning of 21st century transformed biological science. Systems biology is a new holistic approach or strategy how to research biological organisms, developed through three phases. The first phase was completed when molecular biology transformed into systems molecular biology. Prior to the second phase, convergence between applied general systems theory and nonlinear dynamics took place, hence allowing the formation of systems mathematical biology. The second phase happened when systems molecular biology and systems mathematical biology, together, were applied for analysis of biological data. Finally, after successful application in science, medicine and biotechnology, the process of the formation of modern systems biology was completed. Systems and molecular reductionist views on organisms were completely opposed to each other. Implications of systems and molecular biology on reductionist-antireductionist debate were quite different. The analysis of reductionism, antireductionism and emergence issues, in the era of systems biology, revealed the hierarchy between methodological, epistemological and ontological antireductionism. Primarily, methodological antireductionism followed from the systems biology. Only after, epistemological and ontological antireductionism could be supported.
Keywords:Antireductionism; Emergence; General systems theory; Molecular biology; Nonlinear dynamics; Reductionism; Systems biology
Source:Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, 2016, 23, 5, 584-91