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The Urgency of Agency

Caleb Scharf: It’s very easy to conflate agency (intentional action) with Darwinian selection, yet the latter requires no agency in that sense. This is undoubtedly a naïve thing to say, but I suspect that it’s not just me that struggles with keeping this straight in my head. All of which makes me wonder about our continuing efforts to understand the origins and nature of life (a full 160 years after Darwin’s Origins of Species), and our efforts to imagine the nature of life elsewhere, beyond the Earth. Is our own agency, and conscious awareness, perhaps clouding some of our vision?

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