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  1. Using Paleoclimate Analogues to Inform Climate Projections.Aja Watkins - forthcoming - Perspectives on Science:1-45.
    Philosophers of science have paid close attention to climate simulations as means of projecting the severity and effects of climate change, but have neglected the full diversity of methods in climate science. This paper shows the philosophical richness of another method in climate science: the practice of using paleoclimate analogues to inform our climate projections. First, I argue that the use of paleoclimate analogues can offer important insights to philosophers of the historical sciences. Rather than using the present as a (...)
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  • Towards “A Natural History of Data”: Evolving Practices and Epistemologies of Data in Paleontology, 1800–2000. [REVIEW]David Sepkoski - 2013 - Journal of the History of Biology 46 (3):401-444.
    The fossil record is paleontology’s great resource, telling us virtually everything we know about the past history of life. This record, which has been accumulating since the beginning of paleontology as a professional discipline in the early nineteenth century, is a collection of objects. The fossil record exists literally, in the specimen drawers where fossils are kept, and figuratively, in the illustrations and records of fossils compiled in paleontological atlases and compendia. However, as has become increasingly clear since the later (...)
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  • Waiting for the Anthropocene.Carlos Santana - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):1073-1096.
    The idea that we are living in the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch defined by human activity, has gained substantial currency across the academy and with the broader public. Within the earth sciences, however, the question of the Anthropocene is hotly debated, recognized as a question that gets at both the foundations of geological science and issues of broad philosophical importance. For example, official recognition of the Anthropocene requires us to find a way to use the methods of historical science (...)
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  • Save the planet: eliminate biodiversity.Carlos Santana - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (6):761-780.
    Recent work in the philosophy of biology has attempted to clarify and defend the use of the biodiversity concept in conservation science. I argue against these views, and give reasons to think that the biodiversity concept is a poor fit for the role we want it to play in conservation biology on both empirical and conceptual grounds. Against pluralists, who hold that biodiversity consists of distinct but correlated properties of natural systems, I argue that the supposed correlations between these properties (...)
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  • The Role of Historical Science in Methodological Actualism.Meghan D. Page - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (3):461-482.
    This article examines the role of historical science in clarifying the causal structure of complex natural processes. I reject the pervasive view that historical science does not uncover natural regularities. To show why, I consider an important methodological distinction in geology between uniformitarianism and actualism; methodological actualism, the preferred method of geologists, often relies on historical reconstructions to test the stability of currently observed processes. I provide several case studies that illustrate this, including one that highlights how historical narratives can (...)
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  • Explaining the apocalypse: the end-Permian mass extinction and the dynamics of explanation in geohistory.Max Dresow - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10441-10474.
    Explanation is a perennially hot topic in philosophy of science. Yet philosophers have exhibited a curious blind spot to the questions of how explanatory projects develop over time, as well as what processes are involved in generating their developmental trajectories. This paper examines these questions using research into the end-Permian mass extinction as a case study. It takes as its jumping-off point the observation that explanations of historical events tend to grow more complex over time, but it goes beyond this (...)
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  • Introduction: Scientific knowledge of the deep past.Adrian Currie & Derek Turner - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 55:43-46.
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  • Using models to correct data: paleodiversity and the fossil record.Alisa Bokulich - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 24):5919-5940.
    Despite an enormous philosophical literature on models in science, surprisingly little has been written about data models and how they are constructed. In this paper, I examine the case of how paleodiversity data models are constructed from the fossil data. In particular, I show how paleontologists are using various model-based techniques to correct the data. Drawing on this research, I argue for the following related theses: first, the ‘purity’ of a data model is not a measure of its epistemic reliability. (...)
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  • Data models, representation and adequacy-for-purpose.Alisa Bokulich & Wendy Parker - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-26.
    We critically engage two traditional views of scientific data and outline a novel philosophical view that we call the pragmatic-representational view of data. On the PR view, data are representations that are the product of a process of inquiry, and they should be evaluated in terms of their adequacy or fitness for particular purposes. Some important implications of the PR view for data assessment, related to misrepresentation, context-sensitivity, and complementary use, are highlighted. The PR view provides insight into the common (...)
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  • Rock, Bone, and Ruin An Optimist's Guide to the Historical Sciences.Adrian Currie - 2018 - The MIT Press.
    An argument that we should be optimistic about the capacity of “methodologically omnivorous” geologists, paleontologists, and archaeologists to uncover truths about the deep past. -/- The “historical sciences”—geology, paleontology, and archaeology—have made extraordinary progress in advancing our understanding of the deep past. How has this been possible, given that the evidence they have to work with offers mere traces of the past? In Rock, Bone, and Ruin, Adrian Currie explains that these scientists are “methodological omnivores,” with a variety of strategies (...)
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  • Scientific Knowledge and the Deep Past: History Matters.Adrian Currie - 2019 - Cambridge University Press.
    Historical sciences like paleontology and archaeology have uncovered unimagined, remarkable and mysterious worlds in the deep past. How should we understand the success of these sciences? What is the relationship between knowledge and history? In Scientific Knowledge and the Deep Past: History Matters, Adrian Currie examines recent paleontological work on the great changes that occurred during the Cretaceous period - the emergence of flowering plants, the splitting of the mega-continent Gondwana, and the eventual fall of the dinosaurs - to analyse (...)
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  • Principles of Geology.Charles Lyell & G. L. Herrier Davies - 1994 - Annals of Science 51 (1):100.
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