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This edited collection of works by leading climate scientists and philosophers introduces readers to issues in the foundations, evaluation, confirmation, and application of climate models. It engages with important topics directly affecting public policy, including the role of doubt, the use of satellite data, and the robustness of models. Climate Modelling provides an early and significant contribution to the burgeoning Philosophy of Climate Science field that will help to shape our understanding of these topics in both philosophy and the wider scientific context. It offers insight into the reasons we should believe what climate models say about the world but addresses the issues that inform how reliable and well-confirmed these models are. This book will be of interest to students of climate science, philosophy of science, and of particular relevance to policy makers who depend on the models that forecast future states of the climate and ocean in order to make public policy decisions.
Computer simulation is a new method that has become a standard technique in many natural and social sciences. Validation comprises the efforts to show that computer simulations provide faithful representations of their target systems. Thus far, validation has much been neglected in the literature, and working scientists have expressed uncertainty about how they should build trust their simulation results. In practice, validation is often neglected completely or only done in a sloppy way. As a consequence, some purported results from computer simulations have later turned out to rest on numerical artefacts. In the absence of clear guidelines, the method of computer simulation, successful as it might seem, is not yet fully developed. To validate the results of simulations is to make a case for them, to argue that they are realistic, or to enhance their plausibility. Put this way, validation seems fairly straightforward, but, as a matter of fact, it is not well-understood and even controversial from a theoretical point of view. Already the very term “validation” is a matter of debate, as the term is misleading because a simulation cannot be shown to be true or valid except in trivial cases. It is further discussed how validation is related to what people call verification, i.e. the attempt to show that a simulation reliably traces the predictions of a model. Another key question is how one can determine the overall confidence of simulation results if a number of tests have been carried out. Addressing this dissatisfying understanding of validation, this book presents a methodological and philosophical discussion about the validation of computer simulation and of its techniques. The work covers the basic notions and ideas underlying validation (e.g. the notions of validation, verification and error, are clarified), conceptualizes the concept of validation in frameworks from the philosophy of science (e.g. in Bayesian epistemology), and presents practical guidelines and important techniques for validation (e.g. introducing the quantification of uncertainties). The volume also reviews the challenges of validation (e.g. considering the sparseness of data) and offers examples of best practice. This is achieved through an interdisciplinary collection of authors that includes computer scientists (who discuss the most important approaches to validation), mathematicians and statisticians (who present mathematical techniques for validation), and working scientists from various fields (who present best practice examples of validation and reflect about related challenges).
There continues to be a vigorous public debate in our society about the status of climate science. Much of the skepticism voiced in this debate suffers from a lack of understanding of how the science works - in particular the complex interdisciplinary scientific modeling activities such as those which are at the heart of climate science. In this book Eric Winsberg shows clearly and accessibly how philosophy of science can contribute to our understanding of climate science, and how it can also shape climate policy debates and provide a starting point for research. Covering a wide range of topics including the nature of scientific data, modeling, and simulation, his book provides a detailed guide for those willing to look beyond ideological proclamations, and enriches our understanding of how climate science relates to important concepts such as chaos, unpredictability, and the extent of what we know.
This book is a critical appraisal of the status of the so-called Climate Sciences (CS). These are contributed by many other basic sciences like physics, geology, chemistry and as such employ theoretical and experimental methods. In the last few decades most of the CS have been identified with the global warming problem and numerical models have been used as the main tool for their investigations. The produced predictions can only be partially tested against experimental data and may represent one of the reasons CS are drifting away from the route of the scientific method. On the other hand the study of climate faces many other interesting and mostly unsolved problems (think about ice ages) whose solution could clarify how the climatic system works. As for the global warming, while its existence is largely proved, scientifically it can be solved only with a large experimental effort carried out for a few decades. Problems can arise when not proved hypotheses are adopted as the basis for public policy without the recognition that they may be on shaky ground. The strong interactions of the Global Warming (GW) with the society create another huge problem of political nature for the CS. The book argues that the knowledge gained so far on the specific GW problem is enough for the relevant political decisions to be taken and that Climate Science should resume the study of the climate system with appropriate means and methods. The book introduces the most relevant concepts needed for the discussion in the text or in appropriate appendices and it is directed to the general public with upper undergraduate background. Each chapter closes with a debate between a climate scientist and a humanist to reflect the discussions between climate science and philosophy or climate scientists and society.
This is a much-needed new introduction to a field that has been transformed in recent years by exciting new subjects, ideas, and methods. It is designed both for students with central interests in philosophy and those planning to concentrate on the social sciences, and it presupposes no particular background in either domain. From the wide range of topics at the forefront of debate in philosophy of social science, the editors have chosen those which are representative of the most important and interesting contemporary work. A team of distinguished experts explore key aspects of the field such as social ontology (what are the things that social science studies?), objectivity, formal methods, measurement, and causal inference. Also included are chapters focused on notable subjects of social science research, such as well-being and climate change. Philosophy of Social Science provides a clear, accessible, and up-to-date guide to this fascinating field.
This book examines the threat that climate change poses to projects of poverty eradication, sustainable development, and biodiversity preservation. It discusses the values that support these projects and evaluates the normative bases of climate change policy. It regards climate change policy as a public problem that normative philosophy can shed light on and assumes that the development of policy should be based on values regarding what is important to respect, preserve, and protect. What sort of policy do we owe the poor of the world who are particularly vulnerable to climate change? Why should our generation take on the burden of mitigating climate change caused, in no small part, by emissions from people now dead? What value is lost when species go extinct, because of climate change? This book presents a broad and inclusive discussion of climate change policy, relevant to those with interests in public policy, development studies, environmental studies, political theory, and moral and political philosophy.

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