Workshop: Probabilistic Modeling in Science and Philosophy

University of Bern, Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research
11 and 12 October 2013

Organized by Claus Beisbart and Christoph Raible, in collaboration with Stephan Hartmann.

Probabilistic models are successfully used in many disciplines of the natural and social sciences, particularly in climate research. This conference brings together modelers and philosophers to address methodological and philosophical questions about probabilistic models, their targets, purposes and limitations.

Scope of the Conference

Probabilistic models are all the rage. We find a fascinating variety of them in the natural sciences (e.g. random walk and percolation models), in the social sciences (e.g. network models) and even in philosophy (e.g. in Bayesian epistemology and philosophy of science). But what are probabilistic models to begin with, and why are they so successful? How do they represent their target systems? What are scope and limitations of probabilistic models? Further, what is the meaning of the probabilities involved? Are they objective, or do they only reflect the degrees of belief of a scientist? The talks of the conference probe the varieties of probabilistic models, reflect their scope and limitations, and interpret the probabilities in probabilistic models. A particular focus will be on probabilistic modeling in climate research.

For the program and more information, see


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