Apr 2, 2018

The Importance of Constraints and Control in Biological Mechanisms: Insights from Cancer Research

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Research on diseases such as cancer reveals that primary mechanisms, which have been the focus of study by the new mechanists in philosophy of science, are often subject to control by other mechanisms. Cancer cells employ the same primary mechanisms as healthy cells, but control them differently. I use cancer research to highlight just how widespread control is in individual cells. To provide a framework for understanding control, I reconceptualize mechanisms as imposing constraints on flows of free energy, with control mechanisms operating on flexible constraints in primary mechanisms. Control mechanisms themselves often form complex, integrated networks.

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