David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of the Philosophy of History 6 (1):1-19 (2012)
Abstract Starting with Ben-Menahem's definition of historical contingency as sensitivity to variations in initial conditions, we suggest that historical events and processes can be thought of as forming a complex landscape of contingency and necessity. We suggest three different ways of extending and elaborating Ben-Menahem's concepts: (1) By supplementing them with a notion of historical disturbance; (2) by pointing out that contingency and necessity are subject to scaling effects; (3) by showing how degrees of contingency/necessity can change over time. We also argue that further development of Sterelny's notion of conditional inevitability leads to our conclusion that the topography of historical contingency is something that can change over time
|Keywords||scale contingency necessity|
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Citations of this work BETA
Ian James Kidd (forthcoming). Inevitability, Contingency, and Epistemic Humility. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A.
Adrian Mitchell Currie (2013). Narratives, Mechanisms and Progress in Historical Science. Synthese 191 (6):1-21.
Derek D. Turner (2014). Philosophical Issues in Recent Paleontology. Philosophy Compass 9 (7):494-505.
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