Department of Philosophy, University of South Florida
-This paper presents joint work with Elizabeth Lloyd and Naomi Orestes. In it, I review the complicated situation in methods of scientific attribution of climate change to extreme weather events. I emphasize the social values involved in using both so-called “storyline” and ordinary probabilistic or “risk-based” methods, noting that one important virtue claimed by the storyline approach is that it features a reduction in false negative results, which has much social and ethical merit, according to its advocates. This merit is critiqued by the probabilistic, risk-based, opponents, who claim the high ground; the usual probabilistic approach is claimed to be more objective and more “scientific”, under the grounds that it reduces false positive error. I examine this mostly-implicit debate about error, which apparently mirrors the old Jeffrey-Rudner debate. I also argue that there is an overlooked component to the role of values in science: that of second-order inductive risk, and that it makes the relative role of values in the two methods different from what it first appears to be. In fact, neither method helps us to escape social values, and be more scientifically “objective” in the sense of being removed or detached from human values and interests.