Towards a Notion of Intervention in Big-Data Biology and Molecular Medicine

Federico Boem, Emanuele Ratti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


We claim that in contemporary studies in molecular biology and biomedicine, the nature of ‘manipulation’ and ‘intervention’ has changed. Traditionally, molecular biology and molecular studies in medicine are considered experimental sciences, whereas experiments take the form of material manipulation and intervention. On the contrary “big science” projects in biology focus on the practice of data mining of biological databases. We argue that the practice of data mining is a form of intervention although it does not require material manipulation. We also suggest that material manipulation, although still present in in the practice of data mining, fulfill a different epistemic role.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy of Molecular Medicine
Subtitle of host publicationFoundational Issues in Research and Practice
EditorsGiovanni Boniolo, Marco J. Nathan
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781315674162
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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