Is indeterminism the source of the statistical character of evolutionary theory?

Philosophy of Science 66 (1):140-157 (1999)
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Abstract

We argue that Brandon and Carson's (1996) "The Indeterministic Character of Evolutionary Theory" fails to identify any indeterminism that would require evolutionary theory to be a statistical or probabilistic theory. Specifically, we argue that (1) their demonstration of a mechanism by which quantum indeterminism might "percolate up" to the biological level is irrelevant; (2) their argument that natural selection is indeterministic because it is inextricably connected with drift fails to join the issue with determinism; and (3) their view that experimental methodology in botany assumes indeterminism is both false and incompatible with the commitment to discoverable causal mechanisms underlying biological processes. We remain convinced that the probabilism of the theory of evolution is epistemically, not ontologically, motivated

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Alex Rosenberg
Duke University

References found in this work

On the origin of species.Charles Darwin - 1964 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Gillian Beer.
The Structure of Science.Ernest Nagel - 1961 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):275-275.

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