Prediction, Prophecy, and Scientific Culture

in Predicting the Weather

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780226019680
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226019703 | DOI:
Prediction, Prophecy, and Scientific Culture

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This chapter argues that men of science built a spectrum of knowledge that connected the most prestigious and impressive kinds of prediction, in astronomy, with other lesser investigations in order to represent science as the highest form of reason. But those arguments about a spectrum of knowledge could turn into a liability. The central place of prediction in accounts of a cultural hierarchy of knowledge made the struggle with partial and inexact forecasts in meteorology a critical matter. The debates about prediction provide a framework for understanding meteorological controversies as they unfolded from the 1840s to the 1880s.

Keywords: prediction; astronomy; reason; weather forecast; meteorology; scientific culture

Chapter.  11140 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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