Winsberg to take up Global Professorship at Cambridge


Eric Winsberg, currently professor of philosophy at the University of South Florida, has secured one of the British Academy’s Global Professorships, and will for the next four years be based at the University of Cambridge.

The Global Professorships “provide mid-career to senior scholars, active within any discipline from the humanities and social sciences and based in any country overseas, with the opportunity to relocate to the UK for four years to pursue individual research goals while contributing to UK research and higher education.”

Professor Winsberg’s research project is “Complex Modeling and Political Decision-Making: Addressing Technical and Moral Problems”:

In the 21st century, crucial political decisions—such as how to respond to the climate emergency—depend on computer models of complex systems. Yet such models have an epistemic limitation which complicates political decision-making: it is generally impossible for models to rule out extreme events, or to assign probabilities to ‘worst-case scenarios’ in a value-free way. At Cambridge, I will leverage my internationally-recognized work on the epistemology of computer simulation and philosophy of climate science to tackle interrelated technical and moral problems affecting modelling and decision-making. Specifically, I will explore two candidate methods for improving the objectivity of model forecasts: 1) ‘Model Ensembles’, which inform what scenarios are considered ‘reasonable’; 2) Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, which influence model parameterizations. Furthermore, I will undertake collaborative workshops with UK stakeholders to advance the development of philosophically-informed normative guidance, advising how to represent worst-case scenarios in complex computer models for political decision-making.

The professorship includes a grant to support the research of £878,341 (approximately $1,077,000).

You can see the full list of this year’s class of Global Professors and their projects here.

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Charles Rathkopf
1 month ago

This sounds awesome – well done Eric!Report