Malcolm M. Renfrew Interdisciplinary Colloquium Web Archive

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Climate Change
MRIC 2014/15

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Climate Change

"Modeling Opinion Dynamics about climate Change"

Tuesday, November 4
Bert Baumgaertner - Philosophy

ffective strategies for stimulating social change depend on an understanding of the processes that govern how opinions shift in a population. In the case of global warming, current opinions are probably shifting too slowly for there to be any real deceleration of climate change, in spite of mounting evidence and the efforts of many eloquent people. One possible explanation for this is a tension between local and global exchanges of opinion. To investigate this possibility, Prof. Baumgaertner developed a model to help us understand how various factors at the individual level contribute to opinion dynamics at the population level, particularly with respect to local interactions. This research also focuses on the time scale on which our simulated populations shift their opinion. This is important for understanding whether the world population can change enough of its opinions in a short amount of time to avert catastrophic effects of climate change.

Bert Baumgaertner is an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences. He also serves as a faculty member in the bioinformatics and computational biology program. He received his Ph.D. from University of California, Davis. During his doctoral work he was an intern in the computer science department at Rutgers University, and also held a research fellowship at the Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation at the University of Amsterdam. His research focuses on applying computer models to philosophically informed issues.

James Reid’s presentation, "The Guitar from Forest to Concert Hall," will be Tuesday, Nov. 18., 2014 | 12:30-1:30 p.m. 
Whitewater Room, Idaho Commons

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