Prof. Eric Winsberg

Ph.D. Indiana, 1999. Joined the Philosophy Department faculty at USF in 2001 after a postdoctoral fellowship in History and Philosophy of Science at Northwestern University. His principal interests are in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of climate science, and the philosophy of physics.  He is especially interested in the role of computer simulations in the physical sciences, and analog simulation in cosmology, and in the foundations of statistical physics and the direction of time.  He has held visiting fellowships at the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (ZiF) at the University of Bielefeld in Germany, and the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Durham in the UK, at the University of California, Berkeley, the MCMP in Munich and at the University of Lüneburg in Germany. He is the author of «Science in the Age of Computer Simulation», which appeared in the fall of 2010 with the University of Chicago Press, and the co-editor of two forthcoming books; one on climate science and one on the arrow of time, with the University of Chicago Press and Harvard University Press, respectively.



Computer Simulation in Climate Science

Until recently, philosophy of the natural sciences has been primarily concerned with conceptual issues in our most firmly established theories: relativity, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, evolution, etc. Over the last fifty years, however, science has been revolutionized not only by novel theories, but by novel applications of existing theories, particularly applications of those theories that are computationally intensive - that require for their implementation the extensive use of the digital computer.  Nowhere has this been more true than in the application of a wide variety of theoretical resources to the problem of projecting the possible futures of the earth¹s climate.

And yet despite the relevance of climate science to one of society’s most pressing problems, and despite the fact that climate science exemplifies one of the most significant developments in the sciences over the last fifty years - the explosive growth of techniques of computer simulation - it has only very recently begun to attract attention from philosophers. There exists nothing like, moreover, a systematic treatment of the philosophical problems of climate science. During his time at the mecs, Eric Winsberg will be working to remedy this.  He will be working on philosophical issues in climate science, climate modeling, climate simulation, and in the application of climate modeling to inform policy.