Analyzing Causation in Climate and Environmental History
20 November 2023
- The lecture will take place in lecture room Z2, building 5.
Causal attribution presents one of the hardest problems for environmental history in general and climate history in particular. Scholars seek to demonstrate the role of both environmental and societal factors while avoiding reductionism and determinism. Scholars from different schools of history or different qualitative and quantitative methods will often disagree about causation, even when presented with the same historical and climate evidence. This lecture will explore ways of analyzing causation and refining and strengthening statements of causal attribution. It will explain key philosophical and legal approaches to problems of causal attribution and discuss examples in climate history. It will argue that careful analysis and clear, specific language can often solve difficult problems and debates regarding causation in environmental history.