PoS seminar 9.5.22 with Karoliina Pulkkinen

At the next Perspectives on Science seminar on Monday 9.5., Karoliina Pulkkinen (University of Helsinki) will give a presentation titled “Values in climate modelling: testing the practical applicability of the Moral Imagination ideal”. The seminar takes place in Zoom from 14:15 to 15:45.

Perspectives on Science is a weekly research seminar which brings together experts from science studies and philosophy of science. It is organized by TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar here.

To join the seminar, please sign up here.


There is much debate on how social values should influence scientific research. However, the question of practical applicability of philosophers’ normative proposals has received less attention. In this talk, I test the attainability of Matthew Brown’s (2020) Moral Imagination ideal (MI ideal), which aims to help scientists to make warranted value-judgements through reflecting on goals, options, values, and stakeholders of research. The MI ideal is applied to a climate modelling setting, where researchers are developing aerosol-cloud interaction parametrizations of a model with the broader goal of improving climate sensitivity estimation. After the identification of minor hinders to applying the MI ideal, I propose two more substantial ways for developing it further. First, its tools should be accompanied with more concrete guidance for identifying how social values enter more technical decisions in scientific research. Second, since research projects can have multiple goals, examining the alignment between the broader societal aims of research and the more technical goals should be part of the tools of the MI ideal.

Author bio:

Karoliina Pulkkinen is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki’s Aleksanteri Institute. Currently she is working on a project on the role of values in science in the Soviet Union with the aim of determining how past science can inform philosophers’normative guidance regarding the management of social, political, and epistemic values in scientific practice. She received her PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. Her previous postdoc was at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in a project titled Values, Choices, and Uncertainties in Climate Modelling, which was a 2-year collaboration between philosophers and climate scientists in Stockholm. Her research articles have appeared in Philosophy of Science, Centaurus, and Ambix. Her recent comment for Nature Climate Change can be accessed here.