Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem
What sets the practice of rigorously tested, sound science apart from pseudoscience? In this volume, the contributors seek to answer this question, known to philosophers of science as “the demarcation problem.” This issue has a long history in philosophy, stretching as far back as the early twentieth century and the work of Karl Popper. But by the late 1980s, scholars in the field began to treat the demarcation problem as impossible to solve and futile to ponder. However, the essays that Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry have assembled in this volume make a rousing case for the unequivocal importance of reflecting on the separation between pseudoscience and sound science. Moreover, the demarcation problem is not a purely theoretical dilemma of mere academic interest: it affects parents’ decisions to vaccinate children and governments’ willingness to adopt policies that prevent climate change. Pseudoscience often mimics science, using the superficial language and trappings of actual scientific research to seem more respectable. Even a well-informed public can be taken in by such questionable theories dressed up as science. Pseudoscientific beliefs compete with sound science on the health pages of newspapers for media coverage and in laboratories for research funding. Now more than ever the ability to separate genuine scientific findings from spurious ones is vital, and The Philosophy of Pseudoscience provides ground for philosophers, sociologists, historians, and laypeople to make decisions about what science is or isn’t.
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Part II History and Sociology of Pseudoscience
Part III The Borderlands between Science and Pseudoscience
Part IV Science and the Supernatural
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accept agents alternative medicine antiscience argue argument astrology biology Boudry Cambridge causal Chicago claims clinical trials cognitive cognitive science concept conﬁrmation conviction creationism creationists criteria criterion critical cultural Darwin deﬁned deﬁnition demarcation problem difﬁcult discussion distinction edited empirical ence epistemic epistemology evidence evidential evolution evolutionary example explanations fact false falsiﬁability ﬁeld ﬁgure ﬁnal ﬁnd ﬁndings ﬁrst Freud Freudian human Hume Hume’s hypothesis ideas inﬂuence Intelligent Design intentional stance intuitive journal justiﬁcation Laudan logical Massimo Pigliucci methodological methodological naturalism mind natural nonscientiﬁc normative ofscience ofthe Oxford University Press paranormal parapsychology Pennock phenomena philosophers Philosophy of Science physical Pigliucci Popper predictions pseudo pseudoscientiﬁc pseudoscientiﬁc beliefs psychoanalysis psychology question rational reasoning reﬂection relevant religion religious role science and pseudoscience science fraud scientiﬁc scientiﬁc knowledge scientiﬁc method scientists sense sexual signiﬁcant skepticism social speciﬁc sufﬁcient supernatural testable theory tion treatments Tremlin truth understanding York