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Le hasard et les sources de la variation biologique : analyse critique d'une notion multiple

Abstract : The notion of chance in biology is the subject of philosophical and scientific debates since the second half of the XIX century, in particular since the publication of Darwin's On The Origin of Species (1859). In the present state of research, it is still an object of controversy: the fact that this notion can take multiple meanings and roles makes it difficult to define, even in a very specific context. My thesis is an epistemological analysis of the notion of chance as it is used by biologists to characterize the phenomena at the origin of variation in natural populations. More exactly, I treat the question of knowing which notion of chance is conceptually and empirically appropriate in the study of two sources of variation: genetic mutations and noise in gene expression. On the basis of the recent studies on these two causes of variation, I provide a conceptual clarification of this notion, both from an
evolutionary perspective and from a molecular point of view. Given the apparently special relationship between the notion of chance and the notion of probability, I am also interested in the question of the interpretation of probability in the formal descriptions of these biological phenomena. The main aim of this work is to provide a precise conceptual framework for the use of the notion of chance in biology.
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Contributor : Francesca Merlin <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 10:54:17 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 11:08:17 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, October 22, 2012 - 12:30:10 PM


  • HAL Id : tel-00397641, version 2


Francesca Merlin. Le hasard et les sources de la variation biologique : analyse critique d'une notion multiple. Philosophie. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, 2009. Français. ⟨tel-00397641v2⟩



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