Article ID: CBB001420759

Autonomous Mathematical Models: Constructing Theories of Metabolic Control (2013)


This paper considers how the relationship between mathematical models and theories in biology may change over time, on the basis of a historical analysis of the development of a mathematical model of metabolism, metabolic control analysis, and its relationship to theories of metabolic control. I argue that one can distinguish two ways of characterising the relationship between models and theories, depending on the stage of model and/or theory development that one is considering: partial independence and autonomy. Partial independence describes a model's relationship with existing theory, thus referring to relationships that have already been established between model and theory during model construction. By contrast, autonomy is a feature of relationships which may become established between model and theory in the future, and is expressed by a model's open ended role in constructing emerging theory. These characteristics have often been conflated by existing philosophical accounts, partly because they can only be identified and analysed when adopting a historical perspective on scientific research. Adopting a clear distinction between partial independence and autonomy improves philosophical insight into the changing relationship between models and theories.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Diéguez, Antonio; (2013)
When do Models Provide Genuine Understanding, and Why Does It Matter? (/isis/citation/CBB001420762/)

Article Baravalle, Lorenzo; (2014)
Potencialidades e limites das explicaçães evolutivas da cultura: um enfoque diacrônico (/isis/citation/CBB001420719/)

Article Jan Baedke; (2019)
O Organism, Where Art Thou? Old and New Challenges for Organism-Centered Biology (/isis/citation/CBB054222289/)

Article Blumenthal, Stanley A.; (2012)
Earl Sutherland (1915--1975) and the Discovery of Cyclic Amp (/isis/citation/CBB001201291/)

Book Campos, Luis A.; (2015)
Radium and the Secret of Life (/isis/citation/CBB001551960/)

Article Matthieu Husson; (2014)
La tabula tabularum de Jean de Murs et les modèles de l’arithmétique médiévale (/isis/citation/CBB760218453/)

Article Loettgers, Andrea; (2007)
Getting Abstract Mathematical Models in Touch with Nature (/isis/citation/CBB000720236/)

Article K.-B.G. Scholthof; (2004)
Tobacco mosaic virus: A model system for plant biology (/isis/citation/CBB391323763/)

Article Skyrms, Brian; (2000)
Stability and Explanatory Significance of Some Simple Evolutionary Models (/isis/citation/CBB000111072/)

Article Angela N. H. Creager; (2022)
Model Organisms Unbound (/isis/citation/CBB532396920/)

Article Adrian Currie; (2020)
Bottled Understanding: The Role of Lab Work in Ecology (/isis/citation/CBB604254804/)

Article Gramelsberger, Gabriele; (2011)
What Do Numerical (Climate) Models Really Represent? (/isis/citation/CBB001024172/)

Chapter Porter, Theodore M.; (2002)
Models, Analogies, and Statistical Reason, 1760-1900 (/isis/citation/CBB000201994/)

Book Gobert, Janice D.; Buckley, Barbara C.; (2000)
Introduction to model-based teaching and learning in science education (/isis/citation/CBB000110626/)

Thesis Barwich, Ann-Sophie; (cited 2013)
Making Sense of Smell: Classifications and Model Thinking in Olfaction Theory (/isis/citation/CBB001567549/)

Book Bialynicki-Birula, Iwo; Bialynicki-Birula, Iwona; (2004)
Modeling Reality: How Computers Mirror Life (/isis/citation/CBB000500236/)

Book de Regt, Henk W.; Leonelli, Sabina; Eigner, Kai; (2009)
Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives (/isis/citation/CBB000952759/)

Authors & Contributors
Currie, Adrian
Barwich, Ann-Sophie
Skyrms, Brian
Scholthof, Karen-Beth G.
Regt, Henk W. de
Prebble, John N.
Journal of the History of Biology
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes. Journal of medieval and humanistic studies
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Science in Context
University of Exeter (United Kingdom)
University of Pittsburgh Press
University of Exeter
University of Chicago Press
Oxford University Press
Taylor & Francis
Models and modeling in science
Mathematics and its relationship to nature
Philosophy of science
Metabolism; physiological chemistry
Theory (philosophy)
John of Murs
Sutherland, Earl W.
Meyerhof, Otto
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
19th century
20th century, late
Great Britain

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment