This chapter examines the dismantling of the qualitative-quantitative distinction in the practice and instrumentation of computational biology. Computational biologists work with an impressive array of visual artifacts, including microscopy images, MRI and fMRI, organ atlases, virtual organs, optical imaging of "real" organs, and simulations. Despite the clear disciplinary associations between instrumentation and methods in the field, researchers blend observational, mathematical, and computational practices in ways that demand a rethinking of the quantitative-qualitative distinction. Drawing on the later work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, which conceives the ontology of vision and the ontology of nature as co-emergent, the authors develop the idea of observers and observed being in a "circuit" – originally derived from the biological writings of Jakob von Uexküll. The encounter between Merleau-Ponty’s notion of circuitry and recent ontological concerns in STS expands the toolbox for analyzing hybrid scientific practices.
Representation in Scientific Practice Revisited, 2014, p. 201-221