Science and Certainty: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

May 29, 2015 - May 31, 2015
Department of Philosophy, UC San Diego

Humanities and Social Sciences, 7th floor
9500 Gilman Dr
La Jolla 92093
United States

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  • Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship


Daniel Schwartz
University of California, San Diego

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There are those who have believed that science and certainty are tightly connected in one way or another (e.g., Aristotle and Descartes). Today, however, it is thought to be a truism that nothing is certain but death and taxes. How should we respond? Can we rescue certainty from the skeptical onslaught posed by underdetermination, the problem of induction, the pessimistic metainduction and so on? And what should we do practically about problems of epistemological risk—when dealing, for example, with possible but perhaps uncertain environmental threats? The purpose of this workshop is to share and discuss work in progress on the topic of certainty in science: what sort, if any, can be had, and what individuals and policy-makers should do about it.

Possible Session Topics include, but are not limited to:

Attempts to deal with the problem of induction and other threats to certainty

Certainty and theories of anthropogenic climate change

Certainty and the precautionary principle

Historical conceptions of certainty

Interdisciplinary case studies involving certainty and skepticism

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April 30, 2015, 8:00pm PST

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