Page:Lawhead columbia 0054D 12326.pdf/19

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enumerated in Chapter Five, many of the techniques that simple-systems sciences rely on to make progress are unavailable to climate scientists. Like economists and evolutionary biologists, climatologists' most potent weapon is the creation of complex mathematical models that underlie a host of computer simulations. In Chapter Six, I examine some of the widespread criticisms of this "science by simulation," and argue that they are either misinformed or not fatal to the project of climate science. Drawing further on the resources of complex-systems theory, I argue that the function of computational models is not exactly to predict, but rather to act as “tools for deciding,” helping us coordinate and organize our more detailed investigation of the global climate.

0.2 Methods and Problems

The relative paucity of philosophical literature dealing with issues in the foundations of climate science puts me in the somewhat unusual position of having to cover an enormous amount of territory in order to mark out the lay of the land. In order to do what I want to do, then, I need to sacrifice a certain amount of depth in the name of achieving a certain amount of breadth. This is a deliberate move, but it does not come without consequences. Before beginning the actual project, I want to take a few pages to review some of these issues, flag them as problems that I have considered, and offer a few justifications for why I have chosen the approach that I have.

There is some risk that in trying to speak to everyone with this dissertation, I will end up satisfying no one at all. I suspect that individual readers will find my discussions of their particular areas of specialization somewhat unsatisfying: philosophers of science operating in the