Variety-of-evidence reasoning about the distant past

A case study in paleoclimate reconstruction
  • Martin A. VezérEmail author
Original Paper in Philosophy of Science


The epistemology of studies addressing questions about historical and prehistorical phenomena is a subject of increasing discussion among philosophers of science. A related field of inquiry that has yet to be connected to this topic is the epistemology of climate science. Branching these areas of research, I show how variety-of-evidence reasoning accounts for scientific inferences about the past by detailing a case study in paleoclimate reconstruction. This analysis aims to clarify the logic of historical inquiry in general and, by focusing on a case study about climate change, it offers an epistemic account of a particular discipline that is of environmental and social importance.


Variety of evidence Epistemology Historical science Paleoclimate Climate change 



The author thanks Wayne Myrvold, Gillian Barker, Eric Desjardins, Radoslav Dimitrov, Lisa Lloyd, Gordon McBean, Stathis Psillos, Jamie Voogt and the anonymous reviewers for helpful discussion and feedback on earlier drafts of this paper. This research was supported by the Department of Philosophy and the Rotman Institute of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earth and Environmental Systems InstitutePennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA

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