The Importance of Being Dynamic: Systems Biology Beyond the Hairball

  • Johannes JaegerEmail author
Part of the History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences book series (HPTL, volume 20)


“While we do not necessarily need strictly hypothesis-driven investigation, thoughtful, curiosity-driven research is a must. If we continue the way we are currently going, we run the danger of ending up with massive mountains of big data that nobody can interpret. Systems biology should not reinforce this trend, but rather provide new ways for making sense of life. What we need is a more balanced combination of theory and experimental practice, and more adequate communication between them. The philosophy of biology should certainly be of help in this context. Philosophers and theoreticians have made important contributions to highlight the importance of theory in disciplines where it is generally underrated. Unfortunately, the message is all too rarely heard within the community of experimental biologists. In my view, this must change if systems biology is to achieve its true potential.”


System Biology Genotype Network Process Philosophy Evolutionary System Biology Dynamical Repertoire 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Anton Crombach, Hilde Janssens, Nick Monk, James Sharpe, Berta Verd and Adam Wilkins for inspiring discussions and/or useful feedback on this manuscript.


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Suggested Readings by Johannes Jaeger

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Konrad Lorenz Institute (KLI)KlosterneuburgAustria

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