Knowability and no ability in Climate and Earth Sciences (ESS 590)

ESS 590

2 credits


Location: JHN 377

Schedule: T 3:30

Department: Earth and Space Science

Quarter: Winter

An informal seminar for advanced grad students on classic concepts in the philosophy of science (Popper, Kuhn, etc.), techniques of problem solving, case studies in climate change and Earth Science, and more recent literature discussing the underlying meaning behind why we do what we do. Some questions that will be addressed include:

  • Why are some problems and hypotheses more likely to lead to enlightenment (or to the reduction in ignorance), while others are more likely to further obscure the truth? How does one construct a hypothesis that has the intrinsic property of knowability?
  • What are the roles of intuition and experience/deduction in formulating a question that is knowable when it is probed using scientific reasoning?
  • When do models build knowledge? What types of models are most influential in shaping the way we think? Are they the same models that keep the scientific investigation on the pathway to the truth?
  • How does one avoid " working on a problem that dies with the investigator (Michelangelo)"?