The Topography of Historical Contingency

Journal of the Philosophy of History 6 (1):1-19 (2012)
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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



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Citations of this work

Inevitability, Contingency, and Epistemic Humility.Ian James Kidd - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 55:12-19.
Contingency and History.Kim Sterelny - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (4):521-539.
Philosophical Issues in Recent Paleontology.Derek D. Turner - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (7):494-505.

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References found in this work

Explanatory Pluralism in Evolutionary Biology.Kim Sterelny - 1996 - Biology and Philosophy 11 (2):193-214.
Historical Contingency.Yemima Ben-Menahem - 1997 - Ratio 10 (2):99–107.
Another View of Life.Kim Sterelny - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (3):585-593.

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