PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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What to Do About Scale? Challenges for Interdisciplinary Research at Multiple Scales

In the 1980s, scientists came together to work on large-scale inter-disciplinary projects. As they did, they needed to find ways to bring their disparate findings together. This was not a straightforward process: the biosciences typically performed short-term, small-scale studies while geosciences were limited by computer models to large areas over longer periods of time. Bridging these disparate scales raised a number of questions. Were these processes hierarchical, with global change discernible simply by scaling up small-scale processes? Did new processes emerge as the spatial or temporal scales increased? My paper focuses on the epistemological issues these discussions of scale raised.

Author Information:

Melissa Charenko    
History of Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

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