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Chance Begets Order: Hierarchical Probabilistic Processes in the Natural Sciences

dc.contributor.advisor Rosenberg, Alexander
dc.contributor.advisor Brandon, Robert Crawford, David Robert 2013-01-16T20:29:35Z 2015-01-06T05:30:04Z 2012
dc.description.abstract <p>At the end of the nineteenth century Charles Sanders Peirce wrote that "chance begets order" - indeterministic or `chancy' processes can underlie orderly and seemingly deterministic processes. Indeed, Peirce argues that indeterminism is the seed of all order in the natural world. The dissertation explores this theme in three parts. The first chapter reconstructs and elaborates Peirce's objections against necessitarianism, the position that all natural laws are perfectly orderly, deterministic. The second chapter examines and elaborates Ronald Aylmer Fisher's sophisticated analogy between gas models from statistical mechanics and his own population genetics models. The final chapter treats a contemporary indeterministic account of biological fitness and examines several points on which intuitions from deterministic theories misinterpret this quintessentially indeterministic position. The dissertation motivates an indeterministic theory of natural law and reinvigorates its implications for hierarchical models of the natural world.</p>
dc.subject Philosophy of science
dc.subject Evolution & development
dc.subject Physics
dc.title Chance Begets Order: Hierarchical Probabilistic Processes in the Natural Sciences
dc.type Dissertation
dc.department Philosophy
duke.embargo.months 24

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