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A World of Propensities

Thoemmes (1990)

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  1. Development (and Evolution) of the Universe.Stanley N. Salthe - 2010 - Foundations of Science 15 (4):357-367.
    I distinguish Nature from the World. I also distinguish development from evolution. Development is progressive change and can be modeled as part of Nature, using a specification hierarchy. I have proposed a ‘canonical developmental trajectory’ of dissipative structures with the stages defined thermodynamically and informationally. I consider some thermodynamic aspects of the Big Bang, leading to a proposal for reviving final cause. This model imposes a ‘hylozooic’ kind of interpretation upon Nature, as all emergent features at higher levels would have (...)
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  • A Dispositional Theory of Possibility.Andrea Borghini & Neil E. Williams - 2008 - Dialectica 62 (1):21–41.
    – The paper defends a naturalistic version of modal actualism according to which what is metaphysically possible is determined by dispositions found in the actual world. We argue that there is just one world—this one—and that all genuine possibilities are anchored by the dispositions exemplified in this world. This is the case regardless of whether or not those dispositions are manifested. As long as the possibility is one that would obtain were the relevant disposition manifested, it is a genuine possibility. (...)
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  • Forms of Quantum Nonseparability and Related Philosophical Consequences.Vassilios Karakostas - 2004 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 35 (2):283 - 312.
    Standard quantum mechanics unquestionably violates the separability principle that classical physics (be it point-like analytic, statistical, or field-theoretic) accustomed us to consider as valid. In this paper, quantum nonseparability is viewed as a consequence of the Hilbert-space quantum mechanical formalism, avoiding thus any direct recourse to the ramifications of Kochen-Specker’s argument or Bell’s inequality. Depending on the mode of assignment of states to physical systems – unit state vectors versus non-idempotent density operators – we distinguish between strong/relational and weak/deconstructional forms (...)
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  • Falsification of Propensity Models by Statistical Tests and the Goodness-of-Fit Paradox.Christian Hennig - 2007 - Philosophia Mathematica 15 (2):166-192.
    Gillies introduced a propensity interpretation of probability which is linked to experience by a falsifying rule for probability statements. The present paper argues that general statistical tests should qualify as falsification rules. The ‘goodness-of-fit paradox’ is introduced: the confirmation of a probability model by a test refutes the model's validity. An example is given in which an independence test introduces dependence. Several possibilities to interpret the paradox and to deal with it are discussed. It is concluded that the propensity interpretation (...)
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  • Realism and Objectivism in Quantum Mechanics.Vassilios Karakostas - 2012 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 43 (1):45-65.
    The present study attempts to provide a consistent and coherent account of what the world could be like, given the conceptual framework and results of contemporary quantum theory. It is suggested that standard quantum mechanics can, and indeed should, be understood as a realist theory within its domain of application. It is pointed out, however, that a viable realist interpretation of quantum theory requires the abandonment or radical revision of the classical conception of physical reality and its traditional philosophical presuppositions. (...)
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  • Nonseparability, Potentiality, and the Context-Dependence of Quantum Objects.Vassilios Karakostas - 2007 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 38 (2):279-297.
    Standard quantum mechanics undeniably violates the notion of separability that classical physics accustomed us to consider as valid. By relating the phenomenon of quantum nonseparability to the all-important concept of potentiality, we effectively provide a coherent picture of the puzzling entangled correlations among spatially separated systems. We further argue that the generalized phenomenon of quantum nonseparability implies contextuality for the production of well-defined events in the quantum domain, whereas contextuality entails in turn a structural-relational conception of quantal objects, viewed as (...)
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  • Entropy - A Guide for the Perplexed.Roman Frigg & Charlotte Werndl - 2011 - In Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Probabilities in Physics. Oxford University Press. pp. 115-142.
    Entropy is ubiquitous in physics, and it plays important roles in numerous other disciplines ranging from logic and statistics to biology and economics. However, a closer look reveals a complicated picture: entropy is defined differently in different contexts, and even within the same domain different notions of entropy are at work. Some of these are defined in terms of probabilities, others are not. The aim of this chapter is to arrive at an understanding of some of the most important notions (...)
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  • The Idea Of a Religious Social Science.Khosrow Bagheri Noaparast - 2009 - Alhoda.
    In this book, the words ‘science’ and ‘social science’ are used in their limited sense that refer to experience-based knowledge. This should not indicate that experience is being used in a positivistic sense. Rather, the important insights of all kinds of post-positivist views are embraced to give an extensive meaning to experience. However, the most important characteristic of experience and science that should never be excluded is its dependence on observation and observational evidence. Thus, when ‘science’ is used in combination (...)
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  • Facts, Values and Quanta.D. M. Appleby - 2005 - Foundations of Physics 35 (4):627-668.
    Quantum mechanics is a fundamentally probabilistic theory (at least so far as the empirical predictions are concerned). It follows that, if one wants to properly understand quantum mechanics, it is essential to clearly understand the meaning of probability statements. The interpretation of probability has excited nearly as much philosophical controversy as the interpretation of quantum mechanics. 20th century physicists have mostly adopted a frequentist conception. In this paper it is argued that we ought, instead, to adopt a logical or Bayesian (...)
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  • On Narrow Norms and Vague Heuristics: A Reply to Kahneman and Tversky.Gerd Gigerenzer - 1996 - Psychological Review 103 (3):592-596.
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  • Humean Metaphysics Versus a Metaphysics of Powers.Michael Esfeld - 2010 - In Gerhard Ernst & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Time, Chance and Reduction: Philosophical Aspects of Statistical Mechanics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 119.
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  • The Modern/Postmodern Context of Skinner's Selectionist Turn in 1945.Roy A. Moxley - 2001 - Behavior and Philosophy 29:121 - 153.
    Although culturally prominent modernist influences account for much of Skinner's early behaviorism, the subsequent changes in his views are appropriately considered as postmodern and are indebted to other sources. These changes are strikingly apparent in his 1945 publication. "The Operational Analysis of Psychological Terms." In that publication. Skinner introduced a probabilistic three-term contingency for verbal behavior with an expanded contextualism and an increased emphasis on consequence with a clear alignment to pragmatism. Instead of reaffirming the mechanistic and necessitarian values of (...)
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  • Does Species Evolution Follow Scale Laws? First Applications of the Scale Relativity Theory to Fossil and Living-Beings.Jean Chaline - 2010 - Foundations of Science 15 (3):279-302.
    We have demonstrated, using the Cantor dust method, that the statistical distribution of appearance and disappearance of rodents species (Arvicolid rodent radiation in Europe) follows power laws strengthening the evidence for a fractal structure set. Self-similar laws have been used as model for the description of a huge number of biological systems. With Nottale we have shown that log-periodic behaviors of acceleration or deceleration can be applied to branching macroevolution, to the time sequences of major evolutionary leaps (global life tree, (...)
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  • A Critique of Empiricist Propensity Theories.Mauricio Suárez - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (2):215-231.
    I analyse critically what I regard as the most accomplished empiricist account of propensities, namely the long run propensity theory developed by Donald Gillies . Empiricist accounts are distinguished by their commitment to the ‘identity thesis’: the identification of propensities and objective probabilities. These theories are intended, in the tradition of Karl Popper’s influential proposal, to provide an interpretation of probability that renders probability statements directly testable by experiment. I argue that the commitment to the identity thesis leaves empiricist theories, (...)
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  • Learning: An Evolutionary Analysis.Joanna Swann - 2009 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 41 (3):256-269.
    This paper draws on the philosophy of Karl Popper to present a descriptive evolutionary epistemology that offers philosophical solutions to the following related problems: ‘What happens when learning takes place?’ and ‘What happens in human learning?’ It provides a detailed analysis of how learning takes place without any direct transfer of information from the environment to the learner, and it significantly extends the author's earlier published work on this topic. She proposes that learning should be construed as a special case (...)
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  • Probabilities as Ratios of Ranges in Initial-State Spaces.Jacob Rosenthal - 2012 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 21 (2):217-236.
    A proposal for an objective interpretation of probability is introduced and discussed: probabilities as deriving from ranges in suitably structured initial-state spaces. Roughly, the probability of an event on a chance trial is the proportion of initial states that lead to the event in question within the space of all possible initial states associated with this type of experiment, provided that the proportion is approximately the same in any not too small subregion of the space. This I would like to (...)
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  • Interpreting Quantum Mechanics According to a Pragmatist Approach.Manuel Bächtold - 2008 - Foundations of Physics 38 (9):843-868.
    The aim of this paper is to show that quantum mechanics can be interpreted according to a pragmatist approach. The latter consists, first, in giving a pragmatic definition to each term used in microphysics, second, in making explicit the functions any theory must fulfil so as to ensure the success of the research activity in microphysics, and third, in showing that quantum mechanics is the only theory which fulfils exactly these functions.
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  • The Propensity Interpretation of Probability: A Re-Evaluation.Joseph Berkovitz - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):629-711.
    Single-case and long-run propensity theories are among the main objective interpretations of probability. There have been various objections to these theories, e.g. that it is difficult to explain why propensities should satisfy the probability axioms and, worse, that propensities are at odds with these axioms, that the explication of propensities is circular and accordingly not informative, and that single-case propensities are metaphysical and accordingly non-scientific. We consider various propensity theories of probability and their prospects in light of these objections. We (...)
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  • On Probabilities in Biology and Physics.Joseph Berkovitz & Philippe Huneman - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):433-456.
    This volume focuses on various questions concerning the interpretation of probability and probabilistic reasoning in biology and physics. It is inspired by the idea that philosophers of biology and philosophers of physics who work on the foundations of their disciplines encounter similar questions and problems concerning the role and application of probability, and that interaction between the two communities will be both interesting and fruitful. In this introduction we present the background to the main questions that the volume focuses on (...)
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  • Species Are Processes: A Solution to the ‘Species Problem’ Via an Extension of Ulanowicz’s Ecological Metaphysics. [REVIEW]Jeffrey A. Lockwood - 2012 - Axiomathes 22 (2):231-260.
    Abstract The ‘species problem’ in the philosophy of biology concerns the nature of species. Various solutions have been proposed, including arguments that species are sets, classes, natural kinds, individuals, and homeostatic property clusters. These proposals parallel debates in ecology as to the ontology and metaphysics of populations, communities and ecosystems. A new solution—that species are processes—is proposed and defended, based on Robert Ulanowicz’s metaphysics of process ecology. As with ecological systems, species can be understood as emergent, autocatalytic systems with propensities (...)
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  • Widening the Third Window.Robert E. Ulanowicz - 2012 - Axiomathes 22 (2):269-289.
    The respondent agrees with William Grassie that many windows on nature are possible; that emphasis must remain on the generation of order; that “chance” would better be recast as “contingency”; and that the ecological metaphysic has wide implications for a “politics of nature”. He accepts the challenge by Pedro Sotolongo to extend his metaphysic into the realm of pan-semiotics and agrees that an ecological perspective offers the best hope for solving the world’s inequities. He replies to Stanley Salthe that he (...)
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  • Design and its Discontents.Bruce H. Weber - 2011 - Synthese 178 (2):271 - 289.
    The design argument was rebutted by David Hume. He argued that the world and its contents (such as organisms) were not analogous to human artifacts. Hume further suggested that there were equally plausible alternatives to design to explain the organized complexity of the cosmos, such as random processes in multiple universes, or that matter could have inherent properties to self-organize, absent any external crafting. William Paley, writing after Hume, argued that the functional complexity of living beings, however, defied naturalistic explanations. (...)
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  • Five Formulations of the Quantum Measurement Problem in the Frame of the Standard Interpretation.Manuel Bächtold - 2008 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 39 (1):17-33.
    The aim of this paper is to give a systematic account of the so-called “measurement problem” in the frame of the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics. It is argued that there is not one but five distinct formulations of this problem. Each of them depends on what is assumed to be a “satisfactory” description of the measurement process in the frame of the standard interpretation. Moreover, the paper points out that each of these formulations refers not to a unique problem, (...)
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  • Karl Popper's Contributions to Logic and the Philosophy of Science.David Miller - 1991 - Foundations of Physics 21 (12):1369-1374.
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  • Change and Expectations in Macroeconomic Models: Recognizing the Limits to Knowability.Roman Frydman & Michael D. Goldberg - 2013 - Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (2):118-138.
    This paper argues that contemporary macroeconomic and finance models suffer from insuperable epistemological flaws and that their empirical difficulties – which are particularly apparent in modeling market participants' expectations – can be traced to economists' core premise that they can adequately specify in probabilistic terms how individuals alter the way they make decisions and how the processes underpinning market outcomes unfold over time. We refer to such accounts of change as determinate. The first part examines how this core premise has (...)
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  • Popper, Political Philosophy, and Social Democracy: Reply to Eidlin.Jeremy Shearmur - 2006 - Critical Review 18 (4):361-376.
    The later thought of Karl Popper?notably, his ideas about traditions and his ?modified essentialism? in the philosophy of natural science? should lead to revisions in the political philosophy set out in The Open Society and Its Enemies. The structural approach allowed for by Popper's modified essentialism, and the delicate nature of traditions, buttress certain issues raised by Friedrich Hayek that pose serious problems for Popper's social?democratic approach to politics. Fred Eidlin's review essay on my Political Thought of Karl Popper misses (...)
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  • Did God Know It? God’s Relation to a World of Chance and Randomness.Benedikt Paul Göcke - 2015 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 78 (2):233-254.
    A common type of argument against the existence of God is to argue that certain essential features associated with the existence of God are inconsistent with certain other features to be found in the actual world. for an analysis of the different ways to deploy the term “God” in philosophical and theological discourse and for an analysis of the logical form of arguments for and against the existence of God.) A recent example of this type of argument against the existence (...)
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  • The Central Dogma: A Joke That Became Real.Jesper Hoffmeyer - 2002 - Semiotica 2002 (138):1-13.
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  • Theoretical Biology as an Anticipatory Text: The Relevance of Uexküll to Current Issues in Evolutionary Systems.Stanley N. Salthe - 2001 - Semiotica 2001 (134):359-380.
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  • Generalizability: Beyond Plausibility and Handwaving.Eyal Shahar Md Mph - 2003 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 9 (2):151-159.
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  • Contingent Realism—Abandoning Necessity.Malcolm Williams - 2011 - Social Epistemology 25 (1):37-56.
    In recent years, realism?particularly critical realism?has become an important philosophical and methodological foundation for social science. A key feature is that of natural necessity, but this coexists alongside an acceptance of contingency in the social world. I argue in this paper that there cannot be any natural necessity in the social world, but rather the real nature of the social world is that it is contingent. This need not lead to an abandonment of realism, and indeed I argue that a (...)
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  • Spacetime Quantum Probabilities II: Relativized Descriptions and Popperian Propensities. [REVIEW]M. Mugur-Schächter - 1992 - Foundations of Physics 22 (2):235-312.
    In the first part of this work(1) we have explicated the spacetime structure of the probabilistic organization of quantum mechanics. We have shown that each quantum mechanical state, in consequence of the spacetime characteristics of the epistemic operations by which the observer produces the state to be studied and the processes of qualification of these, brings in a tree-like spacetime structure, a “quantum mechanical probability tree,” thattransgresses the theory of probabilities as it now stands. In this second part we develop (...)
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  • Laws, Chances and Properties.D. H. Mellor - 1990 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (2):159 – 170.
    Abstract The paper develops a unified account of both deterministic and indeterministic laws of nature which inherits the merits but not the defects of the best existing accounts. As in Armstrong's account, laws are embodied in facts about universals; but not in higher?order relations between them, and the necessity of laws is not primitive but results from their containing chances of 0 or 1. As in the Ramsey?Lewis account, law statements would be the general axioms and theorems of the simplest (...)
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  • Contingent or Necessary? A Response to Stephen Norrie.Malcolm Williams - 2011 - Social Epistemology 25 (2):167 - 172.
    Social Epistemology, Volume 25, Issue 2, Page 167-172, April 2011.
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  • Beyond the Material and the Mechanical: Occam's Razor is a Double-Edged Blade.Robert E. Ulanowicz - 1995 - Zygon 30 (2):249-266.
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  • Timescapes of Security: Clocks, Clouds, and the Complexity of Security Governance.Emilian Kavalski - 2009 - World Futures 65 (7):527 – 551.
    This article pulls together the disjointed complexification of security studies. Such analytical overview suggests that the perspective of “timescapes” allows for exploring the complexity that shapes meanings and practices of security and its governance. In this respect, it is the imperative to change that suggests the significance of complexity thinking to security studies—that is, it is alone in taking the discontinuities of global life seriously. Security, in this regard, is not merely about the clockwork of survival, but is redefined through (...)
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  • Propensity, Probability, and Quantum Physics.J. Barretto Bastos Filho & F. Selleri - 1995 - Foundations of Physics 25 (5):701-716.
    Popper's idea of propensities constituting the physical background of predictable probabilities is reviewed and developed by introducing a suitable formalism compatible with standard probability calculus and with its frequency interpretation. Quantum statistical ensembles described as pure cases (“eigenstates”) are shown to be necessarily not homogeneous if propensities are actually at work in nature. An extension of the theory to EPR experiments with local propensities leads to a new and more general proof of Bell's theorem. No joint probabilities for incompatible observables (...)
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  • Ecology, a Dialog Between the Quick and the Dead.Robert Ulanowicz - 2002 - Emergence: Complexity and Organization 4 (1-2):34-52.
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  • A World of Contingencies.Robert E. Ulanowicz - 2013 - Zygon 48 (1):77-92.
    Physicalism holds that the laws of physics are inviolable and ubiquitous and thereby account for all of reality. Laws leave no “wiggle room” or “gaps” for action by numinous agents. They cannot be invoked, however, without boundary stipulations that perforce are contingent and which “drive” the laws. Driving contingencies are not limited to instances of “blind chance,” but rather span a continuum of amalgamations with regularities, up to and including nearly determinate propensities. Most examples manifest directionality, and their very definition (...)
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  • Emergence, Naturally!Robert E. Ulanowicz - 2007 - Zygon 42 (4):945-960.
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  • Kenosis and Emergence: A Theological Synthesis.Bradford McCall - 2010 - Zygon 45 (1):149-164.
    Emergence, a hot topic of discussion for the last several years, has implications not only for the study of science but also for theology. I survey Philip Clayton's book Mind & Emergence , drawing from it and applying some of its philosophical principles to a theological interpretation of emergence. This theological interpretation is supplemented by a brief examination of relevant biblical usages of the term kenosis. From this exploration of kenosis, I assert that the Spirit is kenotically poured into creation, (...)
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  • Single-Case Probabilities.David Miller - 1991 - Foundations of Physics 21 (12):1501-1516.
    The propensity interpretation of probability, bred by Popper in 1957(K. R. Popper, in Observation and Interpretation in the Philosophy of Physics,S. Körner, ed. (Butterworth, London, 1957, and Dover, New York, 1962), p. 65; reprinted in Popper Selections,D. W. Miller, ed. (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1985), p. 199) from pure frequency stock, is the only extant objectivist account that provides any proper understanding of single-case probabilities as well as of probabilities in ensembles and in the long run. In Sec. 1 of (...)
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  • Seeing Virtuality in Nature.Jesper Hoffmeyer - 2001 - Semiotica 2001 (134).
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  • Process Ecology: Stepping Stones to Biosemiosis.Robert E. Ulanowicz - 2010 - Zygon 45 (2):391-407.
    Many in science are disposed not to take biosemiotics seriously, dismissing it as too anthropomorphic. Furthermore, biosemiotic apologetics are cast in top-down fashion, thereby adding to widespread skepticism. An effective response might be to approach biosemiotics from the bottom up, but the foundational assumptions that support Enlightenment science make that avenue impossible. Considerations from ecosystem studies reveal, however, that those conventional assumptions, although once possessing great utilitarian value, have come to impede deeper understanding of living systems because they implicitly depict (...)
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  • On the Meaning of Chance in Biology.James A. Coffman - 2014 - Biosemiotics 7 (3):377-388.
    Chance has somewhat different meanings in different contexts, and can be taken to be either ontological or epistemological . Here I argue that, whether or not it stems from physical indeterminacy, chance is a fundamental biological reality that is meaningless outside the context of knowledge. To say that something happened by chance means that it did not happen by design. This of course is a cornerstone of Darwin’s theory of evolution: random undirected variation is the creative wellspring upon which natural (...)
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