Alan C. Love
Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, and Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota
Whyte Museum of the Candian Rockies, 111 Bear St, Banff.
30 years ago, Stephen Jay Gould reignited a longstanding debate about chance and evolution with his book Wonderful Life, which focused on the implications of exceptionally preserved fossils found in the Burgess Shale. What does the Burgess Shale say, if anything, about chance, contingency, and the nature of history? What have we learned from the ensuing debates? This talk reflects on conceptual dimensions of these questions with an eye to their broader significance in thinking about our own place in the history of life.