David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 26 (1):65-79 (2011)
This paper develops a critical response to John Beatty’s recent (2006) engagement with Stephen Jay Gould’s claim that evolutionary history is contingent. Beatty identifies two senses of contingency in Gould’s work: an unpredictability sense and a causal dependence sense. He denies that Gould associates contingency with stochastic phenomena, such as drift. In reply to Beatty, this paper develops two main claims. The first is an interpretive claim: Gould really thinks of contingency has having to do with stochastic effects at the level of macroevolution, and in particular with unbiased species sorting. This notion of contingency as macro-level stochasticity incorporates both the causal dependence and the unpredictability senses of contingency. The second claim is more substantive: Recent attempts by other scientists to put Gould’s claim to the test fail to engage with the hypothesis that species sorting sometimes resembles a lottery. Gould’s claim that random sorting is a significant macroevolutionary phenomenon remains an intriguing and largely untested live hypothesis about evolution
|Keywords||Philosophy Evolutionary Biology Philosophy of Biology|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Samir Okasha (2006). Evolution and the Levels of Selection. Oxford University Press.
S. J. Gould & R. C. Lewontin (1994). The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme. In E. Sober (ed.), Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology. The MIT Press. Bradford Books 73-90.
Sandra D. Mitchell (2003). Biological Complexity and Integrative Pluralism. Cambridge Univ Pr.
James Maclaurin & Kim Sterelny (2008). What is Biodiversity? University of Chicago Press.
W. Hinzen (2003). Life's Solution Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
Citations of this work BETA
Derek D. Turner (2014). Philosophical Issues in Recent Paleontology. Philosophy Compass 9 (7):494-505.
Jani Raerinne (2015). Evolutionary Contingency, Stability, and Biological Laws. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (1):45-62.
Similar books and articles
Russell Powell (2012). Convergent Evolution and the Limits of Natural Selection. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):355-373.
Massimo Pigliucci (2007). Stephen Jay Gould. In T. Flynn (ed.), The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief. Prometheus
Todd A. Grantham (2004). Constraints and Spandrels in Gould's Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Biology and Philosophy 19 (1):29-43.
Donald Prothero (2009). Stephen Jay Gould: Did He Bring Paleontology to the "High Table"? Philosophy & Theory in Biology 1 (20130604).
Francisco J. Ayala, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory: On Stephen Jay Gould's Monumental Masterpiece.
Jeremy C. Ahouse (1998). The Tragedy of a Priori Selectionism: Dennett and Gould on Adaptationism. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 13 (3):359-391.
T. Shanahan (2001). Methodological and Contextual Factors in the Dawkins/Gould Dispute Over Evolutionary Progress. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 32 (1):127-151.
Kim Sterelny (2003). Last Will and Testament: Stephen Jay Gould's the Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Philosophy of Science 70 (2):255-263.
Philip Kitcher (2004). Evolutionary Theory and the Social Uses of Biology. Biology and Philosophy 19 (1):1-15.
Richard Dawkins (1997). Human Chauvinism. Review of Full House by Stephen Jay Gould. Evolution 51 (3).
Raoni Padui (2010). The Necessity of Contingency and the Powerlessness of Nature. Idealistic Studies 40 (3):243-255.
David Schweickart (2006). Stakeholders and Terrorists. Radical Philosophy Today 2006:269-275.
Added to index2010-11-18
Total downloads29 ( #140,349 of 1,911,389 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #455,910 of 1,911,389 )
How can I increase my downloads?