•  13
    Value judgments in a covid-19 vaccine model
    Social Science and Medicine 286. 2021.
    Scientific modelling is a value-laden process: the decisions involved can seldom be made using 'scientific' criteria alone, but rather draw on social and ethical values. In this paper, we draw on a body of philosophical literature to analyze a COVID-19 vaccination model, presenting a case study of social and ethical value judgments in health-oriented modelling. This case study urges us to make value judgments in health-oriented models explicit and interpretable by non-experts and to invite publi…Read more
  •  4
    Scientific modelling is a value-laden process: the decisions involved can seldom be made using ‘scientific’ criteria alone, but rather draw on social and ethical values. In this paper, we draw on a body of philosophical literature to analyze a COVID-19 vaccination model, presenting a case study of social and ethical value judgments in health-oriented modelling. This case study urges us to make value judgments in health-oriented models explicit and interpretable by non-experts and to invite publi…Read more
  • Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, people have been eager to learn what factors, and especially what public health policies, cause infection rates to wax and wane. But figuring out conclusively what causes what is difficult in complex systems with nonlinear dynamics, such as pandemics. We review some of the challenges that scientists have faced in answering quantitative causal questions during the Covid-19 pandemic, and suggest that these challenges are a reason to augment the moral dimension of …Read more
  •  53
    The Epistemic Risk in Representation
    Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal. forthcoming.
    Both the distinction between the 'internal' and 'external' phases of science and the concept of 'inductive risk' are core constructs in the values in science literature. However, both constructs have shortcomings, which, we argue, have concealed the unique significance of values in scientific representation. We defend three closely- related proposals to rectify the problem: i) to draw a conceptual distinction between endorsing a 'fact' and making a decision about representation; ii) to emplo…Read more
  •  30
    Severe weather event attribution: Why values won't go away
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 84 142-149. 2020.
  •  1
    In Elisabeth A. Lloyd & Eric Winsberg (eds.), Climate Modelling: Philosophical and Conceptual Issues, Springer Verlag. pp. 1-28. 2018.
    As we advance into the twenty-first century, the evidence of climate change is all around us. In the introduction to this volume, we discuss some of the successes of climate science in understanding and attributing the causes of these changes, as well as some of the challenges it faces in addressing questions for which we do not yet have the answers. We focus on the role of climate models and the philosophical and conceptual problems facing climate modelers and climate modeling. We then give the…Read more
  •  5
    Communicating Uncertainty to Policymakers: The Ineliminable Role of Values
    In Elisabeth A. Lloyd & Eric Winsberg (eds.), Climate Modelling: Philosophical and Conceptual Issues, Springer Verlag. pp. 381-412. 2018.
    Climate science evaluates hypotheses about the climate using computer simulations and complex models. The models that drive these simulations, moreover, represent the efforts of many different agents, and they arise from a compounding set of methodological choices whose effects are epistemically inscrutable. These facts, I argue in this chapter, make it extremely difficult for climate scientists to estimate the degrees of uncertainty associated with these hypotheses that are free from the influe…Read more
  •  11
    1. Introduction; Elisabeth A. Lloyd and Eric Winsberg.- Section 1: Confirmation and Evidence.- 2. The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: How Do We Know We’re Not Wrong?; Naomi Oreskes.- 3. Satellite Data and Climate Models Redux.- 3a. Introduction to Chapter 3: Satellite Data and Climate Models; Elisabeth A. Lloyd.- Ch. 3b Fact Sheet to "Consistency of Modelled and Observed Temperature Trends in the Tropical Troposphere"; Benjamin D. Santer et al..- Ch. 3c Reprint of "Consistency of Modelle…Read more
  •  37
    In a large and impressive body of published work, Quayshawn Spencer has meticulously articulated and defended a metaphysical project aimed at resuscitating a biological conception of race—one free from many of the pitfalls of biological essentialism. If successful, such a project would be highly rewarding, since it would provide a compelling response to philosophers who have denied the genuine existence of race while avoiding the very dangers that they sought to avoid. I argue that if a “new bio…Read more
  •  19
    An antidote for hawkmoths: on the prevalence of structural chaos in non-linear modeling
    with Alejandro Navas and Lukas Nabergall
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (2): 21. 2019.
    This paper deals with the question of whether uncertainty regarding model structure, especially in climate modeling, exhibits a kind of “chaos.” Do small changes in model structure, in other words, lead to large variations in ensemble predictions? More specifically, does model error destroy forecast skill faster than the ordinary or “classical” chaos inherent in the real-world attractor? In some cases, the answer to this question seems to be “yes.” But how common is this state of affairs? Are th…Read more
  •  15
    In a series of recent papers, two of which appeared in this journal, a group of philosophers, physicists, and climate scientists have argued that something they call the `hawkmoth effect' poses insurmountable difficulties for those who would use non-linear models, including climate simulation models, to make quantitative predictions or to produce `decision-relevant probabilites.' Such a claim, if it were true, would undermine much of climate science, among other things. Here, we examine the two …Read more
  •  61
    Hawking radiation and analogue experiments: A Bayesian analysis
    with Radin Dardashti, Stephan Hartmann, and Karim Thébault
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 67 1-11. 2019.
    We present a Bayesian analysis of the epistemology of analogue experiments with particular reference to Hawking radiation. Provided such experiments can be externally validated via universality arguments, we prove that they are confirmatory in Bayesian terms. We then provide a formal model for the scaling behaviour of the confirmation measure for multiple distinct realisations of the analogue system and isolate a generic saturation feature. Finally, we demonstrate that different potential analog…Read more
  •  11
    Missing the Forest and Fish: How Much Does the 'Hawkmoth Effect' Threaten the Viability of Climate Projections?
    with William M. Goodwin
    Philosophy of Science 83 (5): 1122-1132. 2016.
    Roman Frigg and others have developed a general epistemological argument designed to cast doubt on the capacity of a broad range of mathematical models to generate “decision relevant predictions.” In this article, we lay out the structure of their argument—an argument by analogy—with an eye to identifying points at which certain epistemically significant distinctions might limit the force of the analogy. Finally, some of these epistemically significant distinctions are introduced and defended as…Read more
  •  47
    Values and evidence: how models make a difference
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (1): 125-142. 2018.
    We call attention to an underappreciated way in which non-epistemic values influence evidence evaluation in science. Our argument draws upon some well-known features of scientific modeling. We show that, when scientific models stand in for background knowledge in Bayesian and other probabilistic methods for evidence evaluation, conclusions can be influenced by the non-epistemic values that shaped the setting of priorities in model development. Moreover, it is often infeasible to correct for this…Read more
  •  65
    Confirmation via Analogue Simulation: What Dumb Holes Could Tell Us about Gravity
    with Radin Dardashti and Karim P. Y. Thébault
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (1). 2017.
    In this article we argue for the existence of ‘analogue simulation’ as a novel form of scientific inference with the potential to be confirmatory. This notion is distinct from the modes of analogical reasoning detailed in the literature, and draws inspiration from fluid dynamical ‘dumb hole’ analogues to gravitational black holes. For that case, which is considered in detail, we defend the claim that the phenomena of gravitational Hawking radiation could be confirmed in the case that its counter…Read more
  •  1
    In its reconstruction of scientific practice, philosophy of science has traditionally placed scientific theories in a central role, and has reduced the problem of mediating between theories and the world to formal considerations. Many applications of scientific theories, however, involve complex mathematical models whose constitutive equations are analytically unsolvable. The study of these applications often consists in developing representations of the underlying physics on a computer, and usi…Read more
  •  118
    Simulated experiments: Methodology for a virtual world
    Philosophy of Science 70 (1): 105-125. 2003.
    This paper examines the relationship between simulation and experiment. Many discussions of simulation, and indeed the term "numerical experiments," invoke a strong metaphor of experimentation. On the other hand, many simulations begin as attempts to apply scientific theories. This has lead many to characterize simulation as lying between theory and experiment. The aim of the paper is to try to reconcile these two points of viewto understand what methodological and epistemological features simul…Read more
  •  46
    Philosophy and Climate Science
    Cambridge University Press. 2018.
    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 sh…Read more
  •  195
    In computer simulations of physical systems, the construction of models is guided, but not determined, by theory. At the same time simulations models are often constructed precisely because data are sparse. They are meant to replace experiments and observations as sources of data about the world; hence they cannot be evaluated simply by being compared to the world. So what can be the source of credibility for simulation models? I argue that the credibility of a simulation model comes not only fr…Read more
  •  155
    Laws, Chances, and Statistical Mechanics
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (4): 872. 2008.
    Statistical Mechanics (SM) involves probabilities. At the same time, most approaches to the foundations of SM—programs whose goal is to understand the macroscopic laws of thermal physics from the point of view of microphysics—are classical; they begin with the assumption that the underlying dynamical laws that govern the microscopic furniture of the world are (or can without loss of generality be treated as) deterministic. This raises some potential puzzles about the proper interpretation of the…Read more
  •  115
    A tale of two methods
    Synthese 169 (3). 2009.
    Simulations (both digital and analog) and experiments share many features. But what essential features distinguish them? I discuss two proposals in the literature. On one proposal, experiments investigate nature directly, while simulations merely investigate models. On another proposal, simulations differ from experiments in that simulationists manipulate objects that bear only a formal (rather than material) similarity to the targets of their investigations. Both of these proposals are rejected…Read more
  •  407
    Simulations, models, and theories: Complex physical systems and their representations
    Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3). 2001.
    Using an example of a computer simulation of the convective structure of a red giant star, this paper argues that simulation is a rich inferential process, and not simply a "number crunching" technique. The scientific practice of simulation, moreover, poses some interesting and challenging epistemological and methodological issues for the philosophy of science. I will also argue that these challenges would be best addressed by a philosophy of science that places less emphasis on the representati…Read more
  •  112
    Laws and statistical mechanics
    Philosophy of Science 71 (5): 707-718. 2004.
    This paper explores some connections between competing conceptions of scientific laws on the one hand, and a problem in the foundations of statistical mechanics on the other. I examine two proposals for understanding the time asymmetry of thermodynamic phenomenal: David Albert's recent proposal and a proposal that I outline based on Hans Reichenbach's “branch systems”. I sketch an argument against the former, and mount a defense of the latter by showing how to accommodate statistical mechanics t…Read more
  •  91
    Holism and Entrenchment in Climate Model Validation
    with Johannes Lenhard
    In M. Carrier & A. Nordmann (eds.), Science in the Context of Application, Springer. pp. 115--130. 2011.
  • Time's Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World (edited book)
    with Barry Loewer and Brad Weslake
    Harvard University Press. forthcoming.
    A collection of newly commissioned papers on themes from David Albert's Time and Chance (HUP, 2000), with replies by Albert. Confirmed contributors: Sean Carroll, Sidney Felder, Alison Fernandes, Mathias Frisch, Nick Huggett, Jenann Ismael, Doug Kutach, Barry Loewer, Tim Maudlin, Chris Meacham, David Wallace, and Eric Winsberg.
  •  19
    The hierarchy of models in simulation
    In L. Magnani, N. J. Nersessian & P. Thagard (eds.), Model-Based Reasoning in Scientific Discovery, Kluwer/plenum. pp. 255--269. 1999.
  •  94
    Quantum Life: Interaction, Entanglement, and Separation
    Journal of Philosophy 100 (2). 2003.
    Violations of the Bell inequalities in EPR-Bohm type experiments have set the literature on the metaphysics of microscopic systems to flirting with some sort of metaphysical holism regarding spatially separated, entangled systems. The rationale for this behavior comes in two parts. The first part relies on the proof, due to Jon Jarrett [2] that the experimentally observed violations of the Bell inequalities entail violations of the conjunction of two probabilistic constraints. Jarrett called the…Read more
  •  34
    Introduction to the Special Issue on Philosophy and Climate Science
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (2): 337-338. 2015.