The Demarcation Issue

Topics: Scientific method, Falsifiability, Philosophy of science Pages: 4 (1491 words) Published: September 30, 2010
The boundary between science and pseudo science, better known as the demarcation issue has been in debate for decades between philosophers of science in order to find the basis on which this separation can exist. The likes of Karl Popper initially introduced the demarcation criterion called “falsificationism” which states that falsifiability is the “logical possibility that an assertion can be shown false by an observation or a physical experiment”[1] and it was on this beginning that Popper was able to make the distinctive separation of science from pseudoscience. However if Popper’s approach was taken into consideration, many scientific discoveries would have been impoverished, since the theory behind the discovery would have been deemed a pseudoscience due to the lack of proof and experimentation supporting it. Paul Thagard, Imre Lakatos and Thomas Kuhn are some of the strongest opponents of the model of falsificationism. Popper’s demarcation has been critisized for its disregard for legitimate science and for allowing pseudoscience the eminence of a science. This essay contrasts the ideologies of Karl Popper with the 3 philosophers with regards to certain scientific discoveries which consequently reveal the inadequacy of falsificationism as a demarcation criterion. Karl Popper described the demarcation problem as the “key to most of the fundamental problems in the philosophy of science.”[2]The scientific revelation that contradicts Popper’s proposal is Isaac newtons concept of gravity. Gravity through newtons explanation is an invisible, mass less, attractive force between objects that have mass.[3] It is what keeps humans on earth and the earth’s orbiting of the sun. With regards to Popper the theory of gravity is in fact a pseudoscience since it is simply a question of how can one undergo a physical experiment or observation in which newtons theory of gravitation can be refuted? The lack of proof to support this theory is the principle of Poppers disregard...
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