Confirmation and Robustness of Climate Models

Philosophy of Science 77 (5):971–984 (2010)
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Abstract

Recent philosophical attention to climate models has highlighted their weaknesses and uncertainties. Here I address the ways that models gain support through observational data. I review examples of model fit, variety of evidence, and independent support for aspects of the models, contrasting my analysis with that of other philosophers. I also investigate model robustness, which often emerges when comparing climate models simulating the same time period or set of conditions. Starting from Michael Weisberg’s analysis of robustness, I conclude that his approach involves a version of reasoning from variety of evidence, enabling this robustness to be a confirmatory virtue..

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Elisabeth Lloyd
Indiana University, Bloomington

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