By Robert Frodeman

Seeks to redraw the bounds among the fields of geology and environmental philosophy.

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Extra info for Geo-logic: breaking ground between philosophy and the earth sciences

Sample text

On complex issues like global climate change or the causes of the salmon’s decline in the Northwest, science seldom speaks with one voice. Consider the controversy over salmon. Different parties to the controversy can each point to recent scientific studies that support their own interpretations regarding which of the four Hs (hydropower [dams], habitat degradation, hatchery misuse, and over-harvesting) have caused the drastic decline in salmon populations. ”6 But more than the failure of science to solve our controversies, the basic issue is this: neither the calculus of science and economics, nor the interest-group orientation of contemporary politics, can express the heart of our concerns about environmental degradation.

A caldera is a volcano that has collapsed upon itself. After the explosive venting of its lava and ash the volcano gives way, leaving a concave depression. While the interpretation of the region is not child’s play, the signs suggest periodic volcanic eruptions, leaving multiple, 32 Geo-Logic overlapping calderas in the region. ) A series of faults runs along the caldera’s edge, and another set radiates from the volcano’s center like the spokes of a wheel. These fractures served as the plumbing system for the upward flow of mineral fluids that precipitated in veins.

The absence of anything like a philosophy of field science is telling, for field-based sciences such as geology offer a better account than do the laboratory sciences of both the power and limits of science for addressing societal problems. Scientific reasoning is still too often seen as a mechanical process that provides us with authoritative, even infallible answers—a misrepresentation that damages both science and society. Indeed, with the rise of computer simulations, the positivist spirit, once thought slain, is again in ascendance.

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