Philosophy & Technology

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 357–371 | Cite as

Modeling Organs with Organs on Chips: Scientific Representation and Engineering Design as Modeling Relations

Research Article
  • 1.1k Downloads

Abstract

On the basis of a case study in bioengineering, this paper proposes a novel perspective on models in science and engineering. This is done with the help of two notions: representation and design. These two notions are interpreted as referring to modeling relations between vehicles and targets that differ in their respective directions of fit. The representation relation has a vehicle-to-target direction of fit and the design relation has a target-to-vehicle direction of fit. The case study of an organ on chip model illustrates that the technical device can participate in both design and representation relations. The two relations share the same relatum of the organ on chip, but they have different directions of fit. In the design relation, the chip is adjusted to a design plan, in which case we are dealing with a target-to-vehicle direction of fit. In the representation relation, the chip is adjusted to a human organ, in which case we are dealing with a vehicle-to-target direction of fit. The example shows that a conception of modeling as involving only relations with a vehicle-to-target direction of fit is too narrow to account for models in science and engineering.

Keywords

Models Scientific representation Engineering design Directions of fit Similarity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

For written and oral comments, I am indebted to Kathleen Ess, Florian Fischer, Rafaela Hillerbrand, Peter Kroes, the audiences at the following events: fPET 2014 in Blacksburg, the third Dutch-German Workshop in the Philosophy of Technology 2014 in Darmstadt, EPSA 2015 in Düsseldorf, and the anonymous referees for this journal.

References

  1. Anscombe, G. E. M. (1957). Intention. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  2. Bartels, A. (2006). Defending the structural concept of representation. Theoria, 21(55), 7–19.Google Scholar
  3. Bolinska, A. (2013). Epistemic representation, informativeness and the aim of faithful representation. Synthese, 190(2), 219–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bueno, O., & French, S. (2011). How theories represent. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 62(4), 857–894.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Capulli, A. K., Tian, K., Mehandru, N., Bukhta, A., Choudhury, S. F., Suchyta, M., & Parker, K. K. (2014). Approaching the in vitro clinical trial: engineering organs on chips. Lab on a Chip, 14(17), 3181–3186. doi: 10.1039/C4LC00276H
  6. Chakravatty, A. (2010). Informational versus functional theories of scientific representation. Synthese, 172(2), 197–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chung, B. G., Lee, K.-H., Khademhosseini, A., & Lee, S.-H. (2012). Microfluidic fabrication of microengineered hydrogels and their application in tissue engineering. Lab on a Chip, 12(1), 45–59. doi: 10.1039/C1LC20859D
  8. Contessa, G. (2007). Scientific representation, interpretation, and surrogative reasoning. Philosophy of Science, 74(1), 48–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. da Costa, N. C. A., & French, S. (2003). Science and partial truth: a unitary approach to models and scientific reasoning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Elgin, C. (2010). Telling instances. In R. Frigg & M. Hunter (Eds.), Beyond mimesis and convention: representation in art and science (pp. 1–17). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fisher, S. A., Tam, R. Y., & Shoichet, M. S. (2014). Tissue mimetics: engineered hydrogel matrices provide biomimetic environments for cell growth. Tissue Engineering Part A, 20(5-6), 895–898. doi: 10.1089/ten.tea.2013.0765
  12. French, S. (2003). A model-theoretic account of representation (or, i don’t know much about art…but i know it involves isomorphism). Philosophy of Science, 70(5), 1472–1483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Frigg, R. (2006). Scientific representation and the semantic view of theories. Theoria, 21(1), 49–65.Google Scholar
  14. Frigg, R. (2010). Models and fiction. Synthese, 172(2), 251–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gelfert, A. (2016). How to do science with models: a philosophical primer. S.l.: SpringerGoogle Scholar
  16. Giere, R. N. (1988). Explaining science: a cognitive approach. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Giere, R. N. (2006). Scientific perspectivism. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Godfrey-Smith, P. (2006). The strategy of model-based science. Biology and Philosophy, 21(5), 725–740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hesse, M. (1963). Models and analogies in science. London: Sheed and Ward.Google Scholar
  20. Houkes, W., & Vermaas, P. E. (2010). Technical functions: on the use and design of artefacts. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Houkes, W., & Vermaas, P. E. (2014). On what is made: instruments, products and natural kinds of artefacts. In M. Franssen, P. Kroes, T. A. C. Reydon, & P. E. Vermaas (Eds.), Artefact kinds (pp. 167–190). Cham: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Huh, D., Matthews, B. D., Mammoto, A., Montoya-Zavala, M., Hsin, H. Y., & Ingber, D. E. (2010). Reconstituting organ-level lung functions on a chip. Science, 328(5986), 1662–1668. doi: 10.1126/science.1188302
  23. Huh, D., Torisawa, Y., Hamilton, G. A., Kim, H. J., & Ingber, D. E. (2012a). Microengineered physiological biomimicry: organs-on-chips. Lab on a Chip, 12(12), 2156–2164. doi: 10.1039/c2lc40089h
  24. Huh, D., Leslie, D. C., Matthews, B. D., Fraser, J. P., Jurek, S., Hamilton, G. A., Thorneloe, K. S., McAlexander, M. A. & Ingber, D. E. (2012b). A human disease model of drug toxicity-induced pulmonary edema in a lung-on-a-chip microdevice. Science Translational Medicine, 4(159), 159ra147. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004249
  25. Huh, D., Kim, H. J., Fraser, J. P., Shea, D. E., Khan, M., Bahinski, A., Hamilton, G. A. & Ingber, D. E. (2013). Microfabrication of human organs-on-chips. Nature Protocols, 8(11), 2135–2157. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2013.137
  26. Knuuttila, T. (2011). Modelling and representing: an artefactual approach to model-based representation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 42(2), 262–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kroes, P. (2012). Technical artefacts: creations of mind and matter. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Leatherdale, W. H. (1974). The role of analogy, model, and metaphor in science. Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  29. Meijers, A. (Ed.). (2009). Philosophy of technology and engineering sciences. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  30. Morgan, M. S. (2012). The world in the model: how economists work and think. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nerem, R. M. (2014). Stem Cell Engineering. Tissue Engineering Part A, 20(5-6), 893–894. doi: 10.1089/ten.tea.2013.0764
  32. Pincock, C. (2012). Mathematics and scientific representation. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Poznic, M. (2015). Representation and similarity: Suárez on necessary and sufficient conditions of scientific representation. Journal for General Philosophy of Science. doi: 10.1007/s10838-015-9307-7
  34. Searle, J. R. (1983). Intentionality: an essay in the philosophy of mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shech, E. (2014). Scientific misrepresentation and guides to ontology: the need for representational code and contents. Synthese. http://doi.org/DOI  10.1007/s11229-0140506-2
  36. Sterrett, S. G. (2014). The morals of model-making. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 46, 31–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Suárez, M. (2003). Scientific representation: against similarity and isomorphism. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 17(3), 225–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Suárez, M. (2004). An inferential conception of scientific representation. Philosophy of Science, 71(5), 767–779.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Suárez, M. (2015). Deflationary representation, inference, and practice. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 49, 36–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Toon, A. (2012). Models as make-believe: imagination, fiction, and scientific representation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Van der Meer, A. D., & van den Berg, A. (2012). Organs-on-chips: breaking the in vitro impasse. Integrative Biology, 4(5), 461–470. doi: 10.1039/c2ib00176d
  42. Van Fraassen, B. C. (2008). Scientific representation: paradoxes of perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Vermaas, P., Kroes, P., van de Poel, I., Franssen, M., & Houkes, W. (2011). A philosophy of technology: from technical artefacts to sociotechnical systems. S.l.: Morgan & ClaypoolGoogle Scholar
  44. Weisberg, M. (2007). Who is a modeler? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 58(2), 207–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Weisberg, M. (2013). Simulation and similarity: using models to understand the world. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Technology, Policy and ManagementDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems AnalysisKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany

Personalised recommendations