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Philosophical Foundations for Systems Biology (completed)

PSBio was a Nordic philosophy of science research Project funded by NOS-HS and hosted by IFIKK, University of Oslo.

About the Project

Systems biology is a new and expanding discipline investigating complex living systems through interdisciplinary work. It engages biologists, biophysicists, mathematicians, statisticians and computer scientists who model biological systems and conduct computer based simulations combined with large scale experimental testing. The new discipline faces interesting and fundamental philosophical questions, which need investigation.

PSBio addressed the following topics:

  • Systems and Parts: we investigate how to understand the ontology of systems, how the concept of gene is understood in the new discipline, and how properties of systems, parts and wholes are to be understood
  • Levels and Causes: we explore the relation between scientific levels, reduction, and causation in complex biological systems
  • Methods and Epistemological Issues: the particular use of models and simulations in systems biology is investigated


PSBio aimed for conceptual and philosophical development produced in interaction with systems biologists, resulting in philosophical foundations that will influence the future direction and content of systems biology as well as directions in philosophy of science.

The project was carried out in close collaboration with national, Nordic and international research communities.

Published Apr. 9, 2010 11:51 AM - Last modified Nov. 27, 2015 10:25 AM