Julia Pohlers

Kiel University

Scientific validity claims in relation to lay person's perspectives

The scientific community has a crucial role to play in conducting climate research and assessments for political decision makers. Hence, researchers in climate sciences bear heavy responsibility. However, issues of climate sciences, for example regarding trade offs between CDR-technologies and mitigation strategies cannot be object of scientific debates and expert judgements exclusively. Different arguments exist within democratic theory and climate ethics to justify this perception. My PhD-thesis aims at supplementing the ethical point of view by a discussion of established methods of natural climate sciences from an epistemological perspective. Therefore, one part of the project focuses on epistemic and ethical “difficulties” which exist in climate research. I would like to discuss how scientific validity claims can or cannot be justified here. Another part will focus on the analyses of a citizen’s jury which our research group will conduct regarding climate engineering technologies.
The overall claim of the PhD-thesis is to identify justifiable validity claims of natural climate sciences on the one hand and on the other hand to identify if lay people’s perceptions can complement these research results (and in which way). While the project can be framed within applied ethics as well as scientific theory, it also includes perspectives from social epistemology as a relatively new sub-discipline within philosophy.

Julia Pohlers is a doctoral candidate in philosophy at Kiel University. Her background is within philosophy as well as social sciences. She received a B.A. in philosophy and Scandinavian languages from the University of Greifswald and she obtained a M.Sc. in 'Sustainability, Society and the Environment' from Kiel University. Currently, she takes part in the research program ENTRIA which is an interdisciplinary research project concerned with nuclear waste storage. Furthermore, Julia Pohlers participates in the climate engineering priority programme (SPP) of the German research foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). There, she participates in the research group 'Trade-offs between mitigation and climate engineering: an interdisciplinary approach' (TOMACE).
Her research interests are focused on issues of environmental ethics, epistemology, technology assessment, deliberation as well as inter- and transdisciplinarity.