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The Significance of Robust Climate Projections

  • Wendy S. Parker
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter identifies conditions under which robust predictive modeling results have special epistemic significance—related to truth, confidence, and security—and considers whether those conditions are met in the context of climate modeling today. The findings are disappointing. When today’s climate models agree that an interesting hypothesis about future climate change is true, it cannot be inferred, via the arguments considered here anyway, that the hypothesis is likely to be true, nor that confidence in the hypothesis should be significantly increased, nor that a claim to have evidence for the hypothesis is now more secure. In some other modeling contexts, the prospects for such arguments are brighter.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This is a revised version of Parker, W.S. 2011. “When climate models agree: The significance of robust model predictions,” Philosophy of Science 78(4): 579–600. Thanks to University of Chicago Press for permission to republish substantial portions of that paper. I have benefitted from the suggestions and criticisms of Dan Steel, Reto Knutti, Kent Staley, Phil Ehrlich, Leonard Smith, Joel Katzav, Charlotte Werndl, and two anonymous referees for Philosophy of Science.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy S. Parker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDurham UniversityDurhamUK

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