Is the Contingentist/Inevitabilist Debate a Matter of Degrees?

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Philosophy of Science, ISSN: 0031-8248, Vol: 80, Issue: 5, Page: 919-930

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Joseph D. Martin
University of Chicago Press
Arts and Humanities
article description
The contingentist/inevitabilist debate contests whether the results of successful science are contingent or inevitable. This article addresses lingering ambiguity in the way contingency is defined in this debate. I argue that contingency in science can be understood as a collection of distinct concepts, distinguished by how they hold science contingent, by what elements of science they hold contingent, and by what those elements are contingent upon. I present a preliminary taxonomy designed to characterize the full-range positions available and illustrate that these constitute a diverse array rather than a spectrum. © 2013 by the Philosophy of Science Association. All rights reserved.