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Paradigm lost? Scrutinizing the veracity of systems biology’s paradigm shift

Linda Van Speybroeck UGent and Danny De Waele (2010) On Kuhn's Philosophy and its Legacy. In Cadernos de Filosofia des Ciências 8. p.221-249
abstract
While Kuhn elaborated his Structure of Scientific Revolutions mainly in reference to the history of physics, the concept 'paradigm shift' is also applied to current developments in the biological sciences. In casu, systems biology is promoted as representing a paradigm shift in the study of living organisms. After introducing systems biology’s practical ins and outs, we analyse how its identity is construed by claims stressing what is 'at the heart' of systems biology and what it purports to 'revolutionize'. These claims indicate that systems biology’s envisaged paradigm shift is about 'going beyond' molecular biology. The veracity of this paradigm shift rests on the perception of molecular biology as being atomistic and gene-centred. As this perception appears to be highly questionable, we conclude that systems biology forms an evolution within the range of normal science, rather than a truly Kuhnian paradigm shift. That today Kuhn’s legacy is handled loosely, and that an inappropriate use of the term 'paradigm shift' may indicate an 'accent shift' in the historiography of a scientific discipline, is hereby demonstrated. This leads to question whether the very concept of paradigm is outmoded to capture the dynamics in current biological sciences, in other words, is Kuhn’s paradigm 'lost'?
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
bookChapter
publication status
published
subject
keyword
systems biology, molecular biology, omic biology, atomism, paradigm shift, reductionism
book title
On Kuhn's Philosophy and its Legacy
editor
Juan Manuel Torres
series title
Cadernos de Filosofia des Ciências
volume
8
edition
Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
pages
221 - 249
publisher
Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
place of publication
Lisboa, Portugal
ISBN
9789898247124
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
B2
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
780554
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-780554
date created
2009-11-13 13:03:51
date last changed
2017-01-02 09:56:21
@incollection{780554,
  abstract     = {While Kuhn elaborated his Structure of Scientific Revolutions mainly in reference to the history of physics, the concept 'paradigm shift' is also applied to current developments in the biological sciences. In casu, systems biology is promoted as representing a paradigm shift in the study of living organisms. After introducing systems biology{\textquoteright}s practical ins and outs, we analyse how its identity is construed by claims stressing what is 'at the heart' of systems biology and what it purports to 'revolutionize'. These claims indicate that systems biology{\textquoteright}s envisaged paradigm shift is about 'going beyond' molecular biology. The veracity of this paradigm shift rests on the perception of molecular biology as being atomistic and gene-centred. As this perception appears to be highly questionable, we conclude that systems biology forms an evolution within the range of normal science, rather than a truly Kuhnian paradigm shift. That today Kuhn{\textquoteright}s legacy is handled loosely, and that an inappropriate use of the term 'paradigm shift' may indicate an 'accent shift' in the historiography of a scientific discipline, is hereby demonstrated. This leads to question whether the very concept of paradigm is outmoded to capture the dynamics in current biological sciences, in other words, is Kuhn{\textquoteright}s paradigm 'lost'?},
  author       = {Van Speybroeck, Linda and De Waele, Danny},
  booktitle    = {On Kuhn's Philosophy and its Legacy},
  editor       = {Torres, Juan Manuel},
  isbn         = {9789898247124},
  keyword      = {systems biology,molecular biology,omic biology,atomism,paradigm shift,reductionism},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {221--249},
  publisher    = {Faculdade de Ci{\^e}ncias da Universidade de Lisboa},
  series       = {Cadernos de Filosofia des Ci{\^e}ncias},
  title        = {Paradigm lost? Scrutinizing the veracity of systems biology{\textquoteright}s paradigm shift},
  volume       = {8},
  year         = {2010},
}

Chicago
Van Speybroeck, Linda, and Danny De Waele. 2010. “Paradigm Lost? Scrutinizing the Veracity of Systems Biology’s Paradigm Shift.” In On Kuhn’s Philosophy and Its Legacy, ed. Juan Manuel Torres, 8:221–249. Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa. Lisboa, Portugal: Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa.
APA
Van Speybroeck, L., & De Waele, D. (2010). Paradigm lost? Scrutinizing the veracity of systems biology’s paradigm shift. In J. M. Torres (Ed.), On Kuhn’s Philosophy and its Legacy (Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa., Vol. 8, pp. 221–249). Lisboa, Portugal: Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa.
Vancouver
1.
Van Speybroeck L, De Waele D. Paradigm lost? Scrutinizing the veracity of systems biology’s paradigm shift. In: Torres JM, editor. On Kuhn’s Philosophy and its Legacy. Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa. Lisboa, Portugal: Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa; 2010. p. 221–49.
MLA
Van Speybroeck, Linda, and Danny De Waele. “Paradigm Lost? Scrutinizing the Veracity of Systems Biology’s Paradigm Shift.” On Kuhn’s Philosophy and Its Legacy. Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa. Ed. Juan Manuel Torres. Vol. 8. Lisboa, Portugal: Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, 2010. 221–249. Print.