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Diagnosing pseudoscience in real life: the symptomatic approach

Boudry, Maarten (2019) Diagnosing pseudoscience in real life: the symptomatic approach. [Preprint]

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Abstract

For a long time, philosophers of science have shown little interest in the so-called “demarcation problem” that occupied the pioneers of their field. However, recent years have witnessed a revival of interest in that old chestnut, and even the emergence of a ‘philosophy of pseudoscience’. In this paper, building on the work of Sven Ove Hansson, I defend a symptomatic approach for diagnosing pseudoscience. Pseudosciences are theories which mimic science: they are not epistemically warranted, but they are presented as scientific by their adherents. Because of the way the human mind works, however, all pseudosciences have to create a convincing impression of epistemic warrant. In particular, they have to evade refutations and critical scrutiny, and invite spurious confirmations. Although there are many ways in which a theory can go awry, there are comparatively few ways to create an impression of epistemic warrant. This indirect approach, I argue, provides the clue for diagnosing pseudoscience, and thus for solving the demarcation problem.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
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Boudry, Maartenmaartenboudry@gmail.com
Keywords: pseudosciene; demarcation; immunizing strategies; Larry Laudan; Karl Popper
Subjects: General Issues > Science vs. Pseudoscience
Depositing User: Maarten Maarten Boudry
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2019 13:08
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2019 13:08
Item ID: 16662
Subjects: General Issues > Science vs. Pseudoscience
Date: 2019
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16662

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