Nancy Cartwright, one of the important philosophers of science of our day, will lead the Spring 2013 Science Conversation with a lecture on "Systems, Mechanisms, and the Modeling of Society." Lecture and discussion will be followed by a reception in Haggar University Center (2nd floor).
"Science, Cartwright writes, "can help build a better society. That’s the point of evidence-based policy. But, what’s good evidence? In particular, should we experiment or should we model? Current orthodoxy favors experiment, endorsing randomized controlled trials which show that a policy has worked somewhere and disparaging “mechanistic evidence.” But knowing about somewhere is of little help for policy prediction here. Causal connections between policies and outcomes are not written into the fabric of nature. They depend on "underlying mechanisms"or "social structures"that give rise to them. And to understand those, you have to model. So, what’s so bad about modeling?"
Cartwright is professor of philosophy at Durham University and the University of California, San Diego.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Contact:Dr. Christopher Mirus
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