Winsberg, E., Goodwin, W. (2016). The Adventures of Climate Science in the Sweet Land of Idle Dreams. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 54, 9-17.

Abstract

In a recent series of papers Roman Frigg, Leonard Smith, and several coauthors have developed a generalepistemological argument designed to cast doubt on the capacity of a broad range of mathematicalmodels to generate“decision relevant predictions.”The presumptive targets of their argument are atleast some of the modeling projects undertaken in contemporary climate science. In this paper, we traceand contrast two very different readings of the scope of their argument. We do this by considering thevery different implications for climate science that these interpretations would have. Then, we lay outthe structure of their argument—an argument by analogy—with an eye to identifying points at whichcertain epistemically significant distinctions might limit the force of the analogy. Finally, some of theseepistemically significant distinctions are introduced and defended as relevant to a great many of thepredictive mathematical modeling projects employed in contemporary climate science.