Evolution and Chance

  • Jean Gayon
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 296)


Chance comes into play at many levels in the explanation of the evolutionary process. This paper examines the various senses this concept takes at different levels, including mutation, genetic drift, genetic revolutions, ecosystems and macroevolution. Three main concepts of chance are identified: luck, randomness and contingency relative to a given theoretical system.


Genetic Drift Mass Extinction Random Genetic Drift Theoretical System Random Drift 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Bernard Chevassus-au-Louis and Denis Couvet for their fruitful comments on the manuscript. I am indebted to Matthew Cobb for his helpful linguistic corrections.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of History and Philosophy of Science and TechniquesUniversity of Paris 1 (Panthéon Sorbonne)ParisFrance

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