Historical, Philosophical, and Sociological Perspectives on Earth System Modeling

Simone Rödder, Matthias Heymann, Bjorn Stevens

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Abstract

With the advent of climate change as a major challenge of our time, Earth system modeling has become highly policy-relevant regulatory science. In this situation, the social mechanisms that play a role in any scientific endeavor become particularly exposed. By discussing historical, philosophical, and sociological (HPS) aspects of the field's current “cultures of prediction” together with the physical science community in a physical science journal, we aim to provide an entry point into HPS reasoning for climate scientists interested in reflecting on their field and science in general. This paper, first, introduces our perspective on “science as culture” and climate modeling as “regulatory science” and, second, highlights and connects relevant ideas from the three commentaries that follow it. In so doing, we hope to give a fuller picture of climate science, the interplay it engenders between HPS and the physical sciences, the distinctions that it gives rise to as compared to some of the more traditional, exact, sciences in which it is rooted and its place in society including its role in scientific policy advice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020MS002139
JournalJournal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Volume12
Issue10
Number of pages9
ISSN1942-2466
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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