Is the Evolutionary Process Deterministic or Indeterministic? An Argument for Agnosticism

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Millstein, Roberta L.
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Recently, philosophers of biology have debated the status of the evolutionary process: is it deterministic or indeterministic? I argue that there is insufficient reason to favor one side of the debate over the other, and that a more philosophically defensible position argues neither for the determinacy nor for the indeterminacy of the evolutionary process. In other words, I maintain that the appropriate stand to take towards the question of the determinism of the evolutionary process is agnosticism. I then suggest that an examination of the phenomenon of developmental noise might yield a solution to the problem.