PSBio Reading Group The reading group meets every second Thursday to discuss central texts in the philosophy of biology.


“Functional Stability and Systems Level Causation” by Gry and Anders will appear in Philosophy of Science (East Lansing) 2009, Volume 76(5).


PSBio is a Nordic philosophy of science research project funded by NOS-HS and hosted by IFIKK, University of Oslo. The project will officially start October 2009, but some activities are already in place.

The project aims at developing philosophical foundations for systems biology
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 will address the following topics:
The first topic is ‘Systems and Parts’ where we will 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.

The second theme is ‘Levels and Causes’ where we will explore the relation between scientific levels, reduction, emergence and downward causation in systems biology.

The third theme is ‘Methods and Epistemological Issues”, where the particular use of models and simulations in systems biology will be scrutinized.

Outcome of the project
The outcome will be conceptual and philosophical development produced in interaction with the science itself, resulting in philosophical foundations that aims to have a normative driving force for the future direction and content of systems biology.

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