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Climate scientists today face hostile public challenges to their epistemic authority and integrity. Historian Spencer Weart calls the situation “unprecedented.” This talk explores a precedent of sorts: the general intellectual crisis of the seventeenth century, out of which modern scientific institutions and norms emerged. How was the intellectual atmosphere at the time similar (and different)? What factors allowed a civil, productive, authoritative scientific discourse to emerge, and can we draw any heuristic lessons that are applicable today?

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Scientific Ethos in Crisis: Lessons from the Seventeenth Century

Climate scientists today face hostile public challenges to their epistemic authority and integrity. Historian Spencer Weart calls the situation “unprecedented.” This talk explores a precedent of sorts: the general intellectual crisis of the seventeenth century, out of which modern scientific institutions and norms emerged. How was the intellectual atmosphere at the time similar (and different)? What factors allowed a civil, productive, authoritative scientific discourse to emerge, and can we draw any heuristic lessons that are applicable today?

 

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