In silico modeling: the human factor

HumanaMente_Issue30_Cover3The editors thank Dr. Emanuele Serrelli for his editorial assistance in realizing this monographic issue:

Marta Bertolaso and Miles MacLeod, eds., In Silico Modeling: The Human Factor, Issue 30 of Humana.Mente, June 2015.

The work was done as a Project Manager of the Bio-Techno-Practice Research Empowering Hub.

Humana.Mente is a peer-reviewed biannual forum for theoretical and meta-theoretical analysis in philosophy. The journal focuses on the emergent themes at the centre of the philosophical debate. Its principal aim is to foster theoretical dialogue and innovation within the discipline, serving an integrative role for all of those concerned with the evolution of contemporary philosophy.

Humana.Mente publishes scholarly and expository papers which explore significant theoretical developments within and across all areas of philosophy. It also publishes, and encourages, works with a broader meta-theoretical intent, examining such issues as the conceptual frameworks and foundations of natural and human sciences, their methodological commitments, their assumptions and their political and institutional contexts. Interdisciplinary analyses addressing philosophical and experimental topics are welcomed.

The Issue

Undoubtedly, the future of biology is as a technoscience, in which technical and engineering expertise are as important as biological knowledge and experimental skill. As such many of the practices and cultures that have characterized 20th century biology may be supplanted by more automated and algorithmic machine-driven processes. But what can we really expect from technology? How effective will it be and what impact will it have on biological knowledge? How will the role of scientists as human beings be transformed by this epochal transformation? How autonomous will the role of technology be with respect to human contributions in driving research? In sum, how does this human-technology partnership work? Are there any risks or negative drifts that we can foresee and try to counter? This Special Issue tries to lay some foundations for answering these questions by focusing on in silico models. In silico stands for ‘computational’. Historically, the term in silico has played the rhetorical function of giving computational models and simulations the same scientific dignity as in vitro and in vivo experiments.

Table of Contents

Fridolin Gross – Heuristic Strategies in Systems Biology

Giovanni Boniolo, Luisa Lanfrancone – Decomposing Biological Complexity into a Conjunction of Theorems. The Case of the Melanoma Network

Federico Boem – Orienteering Tools: Biomedical Research with Ontologies

Annamaria Carusi – In Silico Medicine: Social, Technological and Symbolic Mediation

Ilaria Malagrinò – In silico Clinical Trials: A New Dawn in Biomedical Research?

Sara Green, Henrik Vogt – Personalizing Medicine: Disease Prevention in silico and in socio

Federica Russo – On the Poietic Character of Technology

Matteo Cerri, Markus Reiterer, Marco Viceconti – In Silico Medicine: The Practitioners’ Points of View