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How earth science has become a social science

Wie die Erdwissenschaften zu Sozialwissenschaften wurden
[journal article]

Oreskes, Naomi

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Abstract Many major questions in earth science research today are not matters of the behavior of physical systems alone, but of the interaction of physical and social systems. Information and assumptions about human behavior, human institutions and infrastructures, and human reactions and responses, as well as consideration of social and monetary costs, play a role in climate prediction, hydrological research, and earthquake risk assessment. The incorporation of social factors into “physical” models by scientists with little or no training in the humanities or social sciences creates ground for concern as to how well such factors are represented, and thus how reliable the resulting knowledge claims might be. Yet science studies scholars have scarcely noticed this shift, let alone analyzed it, despite its potentially profound epistemic – and potentially social – consequences.
Classification Sociology of Science, Sociology of Technology, Research on Science and Technology; Natural Science and Engineering, Applied Sciences
Free Keywords physico-social systems; hydrological modeling; climate change scenarios; emessions scenarios; seismology; earthquake prediction
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 246-270
Journal Historical Social Research, 40 (2015) 2
Issue topic Climate and beyond: knowledge production about the earth as a signpost of social change
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works