Demarcation in Philosophy of Science Essay

2113 Words Feb 10th, 2013 9 Pages


Philosophy of science is concerned with the assumptions, foundations, methods, implications of science, and with the use and merit of science.

The demarcation problem in the philosophy of science is about how to distinguish between science and nonscience, and more specifically, between science and pseudoscience (a theory or method doubtfully or mistakenly held to be scientific). The debate continues after over a century of dialogue among philosophers of science and scientists in various fields, and despite broad agreement on the basics of scientific method.

The demarcation problem is the philosophical problem of determining what types of hypotheses should be considered scientific
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Aristotle described at length what was involved in having scientific knowledge of something. To be scientific, he said, one must deal with causes, one must use logical demonstration, and one must identify the universals which 'inhere' in the particulars of sense.

Criteria for Demarcation:
Logical Positivism also known as Verificationism * Held that only statements about empirical observations and formal logical propositions are meaningful, and that statements which are not derived in this manner (including religious and metaphysical statements) are by nature meaningless. * The Viennese philosophers who introduced the positivist paradigm effectively laid the groundwork for the modern philosophy of science and one of its most important strands of thought. The early Positivists favored a rather strict approach to the demarcation and strongly affirmed the empirical nature of science, meaning that questions that cannot be empirically verified or falsified are irrelevant to scientific thought. * These philosophers, who called themselves logical positivists, argued that to produce a meaningful claim, one must always return to the tangible observations that result from that claim. * By the late 1970s, its ideas were so generally recognized to be seriously defective.

Falsifiability * Proposed by Karl Popper. In his monumental book, “The Logic of Scientific Discovery” he proposed the idea that

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