Informal Aspects of Uncertainty Evaluation

May 20, 2016
Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

Seminar Room 2
Free School Lane
Cambridge CB2 3RH
United Kingdom

Selected speakers:

Luca Mari
Libero Istituto Universitario Carlo Cattaneo
Wendy Parker
Durham University
Kent Staley
Saint Louis University


Eran Tal
University of Cambridge

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Philosophers of science have studied scientific uncertainty from the viewpoint of formal probabilistic frameworks, such as classical probability theory and Bayesianism. It is not always clear how to apply such formal tools to cases of uncertainty evaluation encountered in scientific practice. Examples are the adjustment of inconsistent uncertainties from different sources, the evaluation of uncertainties associated with modelling assumptions and background theories, the evaluation of Type B ('systematic') uncertainties, the assessment of uncertainty associated with vague definitions ('definitional uncertainty'), and the ways in which human values, interests and expertise enter uncertainty evaluations. This one-day workshop will be dedicated to a critical examination of informal practices of uncertainty evaluation in metrology, climate science, particle physics and computer science, with the aim of clarifying whether and why certain kinds of uncertainty resist formalization.

Attendance is free to all members of the academic community and no registration is required. However, if you plan to attend please email the organizer at by Friday, May 13th 2016 so as allow for a sufficient supply of food. Please also specify if you require disability access or have any special dietary requirements (vegetarian options will be available at lunch).

To view the workshop programme, please follow the link below.

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