Saturday, February 16, 2013
Room 308 (Hynes Convention Center)
The talk addresses the Gaia hypothesis with a HPS (history and philosophy of science) approach, with particular attention to its relationships with symbiosis-oriented views of life and evolution. It looks at recent scientific literature which, although rarely explicitly, could be relevant to probe it empirically. However, if we accept the challenge of according Gaia with the strictest models of what is to be considered a scientific hypothesis, we find a family of different hypotheses, more or less demanding. Alternatively, Gaia can be considered an inspirational, pedagogical metaphor. With the complexity between these two extremes, the answer to the question - is the Gaia hypothesis science? - does not have a straightforward answer.