Discussion of 'Four Case Studies on Chance in Evolution': Philosophical Themes and Questions

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Millstein, Roberta L.
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The four case studies on chance in evolution provide a rich source for further philosophical analysis. Among the issues raised are the following: are there different conceptions of chance at work, or is there a common underlying conception? How can a given concept of chance be distinguished from other chance concepts and from non-chance concepts? How can the occurrence of a given chance process be distinguished empirically from non-chance processes or other chance processes? What roles does chance play in evolutionary theory? I argue that in order to answer these questions, a careful distinction between process and outcome must be made; however, the purpose of this essay is not to answer these questions definitively, but rather to elaborate on them and to provide a starting point for further discussion.