Measuring the Earth: C. S. Peirce, Uncertainty, and the Pragmatic Philosophy
A presentation from 2021–2022 Radcliffe fellow Alisa Bokulich
Alisa Bokulich is a professor of philosophy of science at Boston University, where she directs the Center for Philosophy & History of Science. She specializes in the history and philosophy of the physical sciences. Bokulich’s most recent book is Reexamining the Quantum-Classical Relation: Beyond Reductionism and Pluralism (Cambridge University Press, 2008). Her current research is focused on conceptual and methodological issues in the earth sciences.
At Radcliffe, Bokulich is writing a book on the philosophy of geosciences, focusing on issues related to data, models, and scientific uncertainty. The geosciences must confront some of the most pressing global issues today, including climate change, species extinction, and a variety of geohazards. Her research explores the philosophy of geologic time and broader relevance of deep-time thinking for our present crises. The book will develop a pragmatist philosophy inspired by Charles Sanders Peirce and will show how geoscientists build reliable knowledge about a complex world despite uncertainties that arise in the data they collect, the models they build, and even the uncertainty estimates they give.