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21 March 2022 - 21 March 2022

3:45PM - 5:15PM

PO004, Department of Philosophy and on Zoom

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Philosophical Issues in Space Science Seminar Series 2022: Franklin Jacoby (Dartmouth College)

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An image of Franklin Jacoby

Title: Exploratory Modeling and the Search for Life


How can models help us cope with epistemic uncertainty? This question is particularly pertinent to two fields: the origin of life studies and astrobiology. These fields are relatively new and face high levels of uncertainty that is not easy to reduce. The purpose of this talk is to provide some depth of understanding about the use of a particular model, the GARD model, in these fields. I will argue that this model is indeterminate; models that are indeterminate are a type of exploratory model and therefore have extensive potential and can prompt new lines of research. They are distinctive in that that they do not have targets and, given the current state of scientific understanding, we cannot specify how and where the model will be useful in understanding the natural world: in this case, how life can form. The purpose of introducing indeterminacy is to give depth to our understanding of exploratory models and to illuminate the relationship between uncertainty and targetless modeling.


Join Zoom Meeting: 

Meeting ID: 940 6702 7268
Passcode: 416504


All welcome – please contact the Centre Administrator at to confirm attendance