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Contingency's Causality and Structural Diversity

McConwell, Alison K (2019) Contingency's Causality and Structural Diversity. [Preprint]

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What is the relationship between evolutionary contingency and diversity? The evolutionary contingency thesis emphasizes dependency relations and chance as the hallmarks of evolution. While contingency can be destructive of, for example, the fragile and complex dynamics in an ecosystem, I will mainly focus on the productive or causal aspect of contingency for a particular sort of diversity. There are many sorts of diversities: Gould is most famous for his diversity-to-decimation model, which includes disparate body plans distinguishing different phyla. However, structural diversity construed more broadly spans scales, such as organization in and among cells, structural arrangements and biomechanics on various scales, and even the profile of ancestor-descendent relationships or community structure of interactions within ecosystems. By focusing on stochastic processes in contingent evolution, I argue that contingency causes structural diversity. Specifically, I focus on the plurality of structural types of cells, genetic codes, and phyla diversity as case studies.

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Item Type: Preprint
McConwell, Alison
Additional Information: A preprint version accepted to Biology and Philosophy's special issue on Philosophy of Paleontology
Keywords: Contingency, diversity, stochasticity, chance, structure, function, typology, classification, pluralism, Stephen Jay Gould
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Causation
Depositing User: Dr Alison McConwell
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2019 02:56
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2019 02:56
Item ID: 15546
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Causation
Date: 2019

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