Authors
Martin Vezer
Pennsylvania State University
Abstract
To study climate change, scientists employ computer models, which approximate target systems with various levels of skill. Given the imperfection of climate models, how do scientists use simulations to generate knowledge about the causes of observed climate change? Addressing a similar question in the context of biological modelling, Levins (1966) proposed an account grounded in robustness analysis. Recent philosophical discussions dispute the confirmatory power of robustness, raising the question of how the results of computer modelling studies contribute to the body of evidence supporting hypotheses about climate change. Expanding on Staley’s (2004) distinction between evidential strength and security, and Lloyd’s (2015) argument connecting variety-of-evidence inferences and robustness analysis, I address this question with respect to recent challenges to the epistemology robustness analysis. Applying this epistemology to case studies of climate change, I argue that, despite imperfections in climate models, and epistemic constraints on variety-of-evidence reasoning and robustness analysis, this framework accounts for the strength and security of evidence supporting climatological inferences, including the finding that global warming is occurring and its primary causes are anthropogenic.
Keywords Variety of evidence  Robustness  Computer models  Epistemology  Climate Change  Global Warming
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References found in this work BETA

Error and the Growth of Experimental Knowledge.Deborah Mayo - 1996 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (1):455-459.
Robustness Analysis.Michael Weisberg - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):730-742.
Some Varieties of Robustness.James Woodward - 2006 - Journal of Economic Methodology 13 (2):219-240.

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Citations of this work BETA

Securing the Empirical Value of Measurement Results.Kent W. Staley - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):87-113.
Model spread and progress in climate modelling.Julie Jebeile & Anouk Barberousse - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-19.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

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