Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Rafaela Hillerbrand"

Titel: On Non-Propositional Aspects in Modelling Complex Systems
Autor: Rafaela Hillerbrand
Seite: 107-120

Abstract: This paper aims to show that modeling complex systems inevitably involves non-propositional knowledge and thus the uncertainties associated with the corresponding model predictions cannot be fully quantified. This is exemplified by means of the climate system and climate modeling. The climate system is considered as a paradigm for a complex system, whereby the notion of complexity adopted in this paper is epistemic in nature and does not equate with the technical definition of a complex system as for example used within physics or complexity theory. The epistemic notion of complexity allows to view the climate system as complex with respect to some features, while simple with respect to others. This distinction is of practical significance for political decision making as it allows to treat some climate predictions as (fairly) certain, while acknowledging high uncertainties with others.

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