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I argue that concerns about double-counting – using the same evidence both to calibrate or tune climate models and also to confirm that the models are adequate – deserve more careful scrutiny in climate modelling circles. It is widely held that double-counting is bad and that separate data must be used for calibration and confirmation. I show that this is not true, and that climate scientists may be confusing their targets. My analysis turns on a Bayesian/relative-likelihood approach to incremental confirmation. According to this approach, double-counting is entirely proper. I go on to discuss plausible difficulties with calibrating climate models, and I distinguish more and less ambitious notions of confirmation. Strong claims of confirmation may not, in many cases, be warranted, but it would be a mistake to regard double-counting as the culprit.


Charlotte Werndl is an Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, at the London School of Economics. She will be Full Professor for logic and philosophy of science at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Salzburg from September 2014 onwards. She is an associate editor of the European Journal for the Philosophy of Science and an editor of the Review of Symbolic Logic.

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