Worlds of David Darling
Encyclopedia of Science
   
Home > Encyclopedia of Science

contingency




  1. (EVOLUTION) The idea that evolution consists of many branching points and that an organism's future evolution depends on previous branching points. This theory would predict that evolution is unlikely to produce similar species on different planets. It stands in contradistinction to convergent evolution.

  2. (LOGIC) The property whereby a statement may be either false or true, its truth or falsity depending on the actual state of the world. The statement "the paper in this book is white" is contingent in that although it is in fact true, it is conceivable that it might have been, say, pale green. Compare with necessity.

Related categories

   • ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF LIFE
   • LOGIC