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Discussion of 'Four Case Studies on Chance in Evolution': Philosophical Themes and Questions

Millstein, Roberta L. (2005) Discussion of 'Four Case Studies on Chance in Evolution': Philosophical Themes and Questions. [Preprint]


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The four case studies on chance in evolution provide a rich source for further philosophical analysis. Among the issues raised are the following: are there different conceptions of chance at work, or is there a common underlying conception? How can a given concept of chance be distinguished from other chance concepts and from non-chance concepts? How can the occurrence of a given chance process be distinguished empirically from non-chance processes or other chance processes? What roles does chance play in evolutionary theory? I argue that in order to answer these questions, a careful distinction between process and outcome must be made; however, the purpose of this essay is not to answer these questions definitively, but rather to elaborate on them and to provide a starting point for further discussion.

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Item Type: Preprint
Millstein, Roberta L.
Additional Information: This paper was part of the symposium, "Four Case Studies on Chance in Evolution" at PSA 2004, held in Austin, Texas, November 2004. The speakers were John Beatty, Michael R. Dietrich, Robert C. Richardson, and Robert A. Skipper, Jr., with commentary by Roberta L. Millstein. This paper is the commentary for those four speakers.
Keywords: Beatty, chance, chance variation, Dietrich, evolution, genetic draft, genetic drift, neutralism, outcome, process, Richardson, Skipper
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Depositing User: Dr. Roberta L. Millstein
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2005
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:13
Item ID: 2445

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