PHIL 421: Seminar

PHIL 421-001: Dimensions of Climate Science
(Fall 2017)

04:30 PM to 07:10 PM R

Planetary Hall (formerly Science & Tech I) 224

Section Information for Fall 2017

  • All Philosophy majors must take at least one section of PHIL421.
Methodological and Normative Dimensions of Climate Science
Climate change is one of the most difficult challenges humanity has ever faced. At its core, it is simultaneously one of the hardest problems of both collective action and distributive justice. Our understanding of this problem though, and the urgency we face in finding domestic and international solutions to it, is built on a diverse body of science going back to the end of the 19th century, when a Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius, first hypothesized that humans could warm the planet through the burning of fossil fuels.
In this course we will focus on both the methodological and normative dimensions of climate science. First, how do we know what we know -- from the historical temperature and greenhouse gas record, current observations, and computer modeling -- and second, whether there are normative implications of the findings from this science with respect to identifying the solution set for climate change. We will end with a look at the question of whether climate scientists have any obligations to involve themselves in the policy debates on climate change given their fundamental role in understanding this challenge to people and the planet. 


Satisfies the writing intensive requirement in the major.


Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Explores topics in current philosophical research in a seminar format. Topics vary. Notes: May be repeated for credit when topic is different. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 18 credits.
Mason Core: Capstone
Specialized Designation: Writing Intensive in the Major
Recommended Prerequisite: Nine credits in philosophy.
Schedule Type: Seminar
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes.

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