The Perils of Prediction in the Physical Sciences: Historical and Epistemological Perspectives (PYTHIA)
The adequate prediction of the future has been one of the central goals of science. Decisions regarding public policy rely heavily on the ability to predict. In this regard, the role of science is crucial, with science-based knowledge as the main tool for successful prediction. This research project aims at improving our understanding of science-based prediction from the perspective of history and philosophy of science (HPS) and related fields. The project focuses on two issues about the perils of prediction in the physical sciences: 1) How the gap between high-level theory and predictions of particular phenomena is bridged; and 2) what counts as an adequate/successful prediction in different physical sciences. It will include case studies in four areas: seismology, high energy physics, quantum chemistry, and environmental science. Acknowledging the increasing importance of computing for the natural sciences in general and for prediction in particular, the project will integrate the history and philosophy of computing into the history and philosophy of the physical sciences. Furthermore, given the importance of science-based prediction to policy-makers, the PYTHIA project is expected to have a significant impact on science policy.


December, 2019 to December, 2022


In progress

Funded by: 

The Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation