Carnap And Popper 's Theory Of Demarcation Essay

1135 Words Nov 21st, 2016 5 Pages
One’s willingness to agree both with Carnap and Popper on the question of demarcation depends on how strict one chooses to be in accepting one criterion over the other. There exists middle ground, or grey area, between the two criteria that makes it possible to accept both. In principle, it is possible to agree both with Carnap’s and Popper’s theory of demarcation, as Carnap’s verificationism principle includes being able to falsify a theory, which agrees with Popper’s falsification criteria. However, if one chooses to accept that a theory is only scientific if it can be falsified and that it must require empirical content, then Popper’s criteria can no longer agree with Carnap’s. In addition, each criteria of demarcation encourages a different way of approaching empirical science, meaning that it is rare for one to accept both.

Carnap’s criteria of demarcation distinguished a scientific theory from one that is non-scientific on the basis of verificationism. This principle states that a theory is scientific if there are ways for one to test it through observations or experiments that would either support or contradict the theory. The last notion, a theory’s ability to be contradicted by results is what allows one to accept both Carnap’s and Popper’s demarcation criteria. Similarly to Popper’s criteria of demarcation, one can essentially seek ways to disprove a scientific theory if he chooses to do so. This is an instance in which one’s stance of the demarcation is…

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