Page:Lawhead columbia 0054D 12326.pdf/16

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


questions in the other categories; how we ought to react to a rapidly changing climate (an evaluative question) will clearly depend in part on how much we trust the predictions we've generated about the future (a foundational question), and that trust will depend in part on how we design and implement our climate models (a methodological question). My purpose in delineating these categories, then, is not to suggest that this division corresponds to essentially different spheres of inquiry—rather, this way of carving up the complicated and multi-faceted problems in the philosophy of climate science is just a pragmatic maneuver. Indeed, it is one of the principal theses of my project that none of these groups of questions can be effectively dealt with in isolation: they need to be tackled as a package, and a careful examination of that package is precisely what I am concerned with here. With this general structural outline in mind, then, let me say a bit more about what I intend to do in each chapter.

Chapter One is the most traditionally philosophical, and deals with general questions in the philosophy of science. In particular, I focus on the question of how philosophy can make a contribution to the scientific project. I offer an apocryphal quotation attributed to Richard Feynman, viz., " Philosophy of scientists is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds," as my primary target, and attempt to see how a philosopher of science might respond to Feynman's charge. I argue that none of the accounts of science on offer in the literature can easily meet this challenge, in large part because they're often concerned with questions that are of little real consequence to practicing scientists. Drawing on concepts in information theory, I construct a novel account of structure of the scientific project that (I hope) skirts some of the stickier (but, I argue, less important) issues in which 20th century philosophy of science often became mired. With that account of science in hand, I argue that philosophy has a real

6