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Publications [#320303] of Robert N. Brandon

Duke :: Philosophy :: Faculty :: Robert N. Brandon

Papers Published

  1. Fleming, L; Brandon, R, Why flying dogs are rare: A general theory of luck in evolutionary transitions., Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, vol. 49 (February, 2015), pp. 24-31 [doi].
    (last updated on 2021/12/01)

    There is a worry that the 'major transitions in evolution' represent an arbitrary group of events. This worry is warranted, and we show why. We argue that the transition to a new level of hierarchy necessarily involves a nonselectionist chance process. Thus any unified theory of evolutionary transitions must be more like a general theory of fortuitous luck, rather than a rigid formulation of expected events. We provide a systematic account of evolutionary transitions based on a second-order regularity of chance events, as stipulated by the ZFEL (Zero Force Evolutionary Law). And in doing so, we make evolutionary transitions explainable and predictable, and so not entirely contingent after all.

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