Higher seminar in the Philosophy of Science: Vera Matarese (Bern)


Date: Thursday 19 May 2022

Time: 13.15 – 15.00

Location: D700

On the Epistemic Status of Atmospheric Retrieval Models in Exoplanetary Science


Exoplanetary science provides a cutting-edge frontier not only for astrophysicists but also for philosophers of science. In this talk, I investigate the epistemic status of atmospheric retrieval models, which are indispensable techniques to overcome the lack of knowledge of the exoplanet atmospheric composition. In particular, I discuss whether they should be regarded as mere heuristic and exploratory tools or as providing epistemic evidence. After evaluating their hybrid structure and their functions of carving and exploring the space of possible, hypothetical atmospheric compositions, I conclude that these models have some epistemic authority, even though they are not fully alethically justified.