This year's Fleishhacker Lecture is by Philip Kitcher on global warming. Philip Kitcher is a renowned philosopher of science at Columbia University.
Abstract: CLIMATE CHANGE – THE HARD PROBLEMThe easy problem of climate change is that of determining the reality of anthropogenic global warming. That problem has been made hard by deficiencies in our democracy. After a brief exploration of these claims, I’ll turn to the hard problem, that of ascertaining the extent of the threat to future human well-being and formulating a policy for addressing it. I’ll argue that we are forced to proceed in a context in which much of what we would like to know is beyond our epistemic reach, and that successful policies for responding to climate change require an extension of democracy in a global framework. Given the existing problems with what we think of as democracy today, any such extension looks unlikely.
Bio: Kitcher is a British philosophy professor who specializes in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of biology, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of literature, and, more recently, pragmatism. Kitcher currently teaches at Columbia University in the Department of Philosophy where he holds an appointment as the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy. As chair of Columbia's Contemporary Civilization program (part of its undergraduate Core Curriculum), he also holds the James R. Barker Professorship of Contemporary Civilization. Before moving to Columbia, Kitcher taught at the University of Vermont, Vassar College, The University of Minnesota, University of Michigan, and for several years at University of California, San Diego where he held the position of Presidential Professor of Philosophy.
Kitcher is past president of the American Philosophical Association. In 2002, Kitcher was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he was awarded the inaugural Prometheus Prize from the American Philosophical Association in 2006 in honor of extended achievement in the philosophy of science.
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