Chances and Causes in Evolutionary Biology: How Many Chances Become One Chance

In P. M. Illari, F. Russo & J. Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. pp. 2--425 (2011)
As a number of biologists and philosophers have emphasized, ‘chance’ has multiple meanings in evolutionary biology. Seven have been identified. I will argue that there is a unified concept of chance underlying these seven, which I call the UCC (Unified Chance Concept). I will argue that each is characterized by which causes are consid- ered, ignored, or prohibited. Thus, chance in evolutionary biology can only be under- stood through understanding the causes at work. The UCC aids in comparing the different concepts and allows us to characterize our concepts of chance in probabilistic terms, i.e. provides a way to translate between ‘chance’ and ‘probability’.
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