Synthetic Modeling and Mechanistic Account: Material Recombination and Beyond

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Knuuttila, Tarja; Loettgers, Andrea
conference paper description
Recently, Bechtel and Abrahamsen have argued that mathematical models study the dynamics of mechanisms by recomposing the components and their operations into an appropriately organized system. We will study this claim through the practice of combinational modeling in circadian clock research. In combinational modeling experiments on model organisms and mathematical/computational models are combined with a new type of model—a synthetic model. While we appreciate Bechtel and Abrahamsen’s point that mathematical/computational models are used to provide dynamic mechanistic explanations, we think that the strategy of recomposition is more complicated than what Bechtel and Abrahamsen indicate. Moreover, as we will show, synthetic modeling as a kind of material recomposition strategy also points beyond the mechanistic paradigm.