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Metascience

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 99–104 | Cite as

Models all the way down

Paul N. Edwards: A vast machine: Computer models, climate data, and the politics of global warming. Boston MA: The MIT Press, 2010, 528pp, $32.95/£24.95 HB
  • Naomi Oreskes
Essay Review

When I entered graduate school in 1984, there was scant serious work in history or philosophy of the modern earth sciences. Excellent scholars had written on Darwin, Lyell and nineteenth century geology, and some of that work heeded earth science qua earth science, but much of it attended to geology only as something that helped to lay the groundwork for an advance in biology: Darwin’s theory of the origin of species through natural selection. Few had written anything of note on twentieth century earth science, and few had taken earth science seriously on its own terms.

In (1985), the ground shifted with the publication of Martin J. S. Rudwick’s Great Devonian Controversy. Here was a work that addressed the epistemic question of how geologists established a fact about the natural world, and how they did so without the aid of laboratories and nearly without the aid of instrumentation, save a rock hammer that scarcely differed from a workman’s tool, a rudimentary hand lens that any...

References

  1. Oreskes, Naomi. 2004. The scientific consensus on climate change. Science 306: 1686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Oreskes, Naomi. 2007. The scientific consensus on climate change: How do we know we’re not wrong? In Climate change: What it means for us, our children, and our grandchildren, ed. Joseph F.C. DiMento, and Pamela Doughman, 65–99. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  3. Oreskes, Naomi, and Kenneth Belitz. 2001. Philosophical issues in model assessment. In Model validation: Perspectives in hydrological science, ed. M.G. Anderson, and P.D. Bates, 23–41. London: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Rudwick, Martin. J.S. 1985. The great devonian controversy: The shaping of knowledge among gentlemanly specialists. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego La JollaUSA

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