effective complexity values for all relevant ways of representing the system. See Section 2.2.2 for more on this.
In this chapter, I would like to narrow our focus and apply some of the concepts we’ve developed over the last hundred (or so) pages to more practical concerns. In Chapter Zero, I argued that the issue of global climate change is perhaps the most pressing scientific problem of our time, and suggested that the paucity of philosophical engagement with this problem is a travesty in need of serious attention. Chapter One consisted of a systematic description of the kind of contribution that philosophers can be expected to make to problems like this one, and Chapters Two and Three laid the groundwork for making some contributions of that kind. In this chapter, we will start to examine climate science itself. As I have repeatedly emphasized, philosophy is at its best when it makes contact with the social and scientific issues of the day, and it is difficult to imagine a more pressing social and scientific problem than that of global climate change.
Here’s how this chapter will go. In Section 4.1, I will offer a brief overview to some of the central concepts and terminology of climate science. The focus of this section will be not on the controversial aspects of climatology, but just on introducing some of the basic jargon and ideas behind the science; at this point, we will have very little to say about what makes climate science particularly difficult, or about the nature of the political dispute raging in the wake of the science. Rather, our goal shall be just to get enough of the basics on the table to allow for an intelligible discussion of some of the specifics that are of particular philosophical interest. We’ll introduce these concepts by way of a concrete examination of the practice of model building in climate science. Sticking with the generally dialectical style we’ve been using so far, we’ll begin with a