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Philosophy

Philosophy Faculty Publications

2008

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Evolution, Providence, And Gouldian Contingency, Michael W. Rota Jan 2008

Evolution, Providence, And Gouldian Contingency, Michael W. Rota

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Stephen Jay Gould and others have argued that what we know about evolution implies that human beings are a ‘cosmic accident’. In this paper I examine an argument for Gould’s view and then attempt to show that it fails. Contrary to the claims of Gould, Daniel Dennett, and others, it is a mistake to think that what we have learned from evolutionary biology somehow shows that human beings are mere accidents of natural history. Nor does what we know about the contingency of evolution give us good reason to reject the view that human beings came to be according ...