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Popper on the Problem of Demarcation The problem of demarcation to distinguish scientific theories from pseudoscientific ones, since Popper's

proposal of falsificationism, has been an ongoing project for philosophers of science due to the coherent criticisms on Popper's account and later attempts to solve the same problem by various philosophers of science. With its huge ethical and political implications on the society, the problem of demarcation should be cautiously treated as a serious problem whose solution will guide fundamental beliefs and practices for each and everyone of us in our daily lives in avoiding pseudoscientific beliefs and practices. Although Popper is renowned for proposing a powerful answer to the problem of demarcation, his answer is, by no means, a completely satisfactory one for a lot other philosophers, scientists and other intellectuals. This paper will focus on the Popperian conception of scientific status and criticisms of Popperian standards of demarcation to examine the reasons why they fail to distinguish between genuine science and pseudoscience in the light of the wor s of other figures in the philosophy of science including !uhn, "a atos and #axwell. $n his article, %&cience' (onjectures and )efutations*, Popper gave three examples of which he claimed are pseudosciences, namely, the #arxist theory of history, +reud's psychoanalysis, and Adler's individual theory. ,e suggested that verifications for such theories, although seemingly overwhelmingly present, are not sufficient for their scientific soundness. )ather, according to Popper, it is this ubi-uitous %explanatory power* of those theories which actually shows their hidden nature of being pseudoscience. $t does not matter whatever happened, is happening or will happen, all possible pictures of the world would confirm that the theory is %correct*. Popper believes that such confirmations of theories, scientific or not, are easily available and they should count only when there are ris y predictions involved as the following example would suggests. This view is a radical deviation from the attempts of logical positivists who were attempting to demarcate science and

metaphysics with the verification principle, which asserts that the meaning of statements relies on the methods they are verifiable. While Popper rejected psychoanalytic theories as unscientific since they seem to be consistent with everything possible, he gave an example of what ind of prediction.s/ from a theory would ma e that theory scientific. 0instein's theory of general relativity predicts that light from a distant star would be wrapped around the space due to the strong gravitational field near the sun. Therefore, we would see the relative positions of stars whose light passes through near the sun as observably although slightly deviated. &uch a prediction is not made by any other nown principle of physics and therefore, it is a %ris y prediction*, which

highlights the scientific authenticity of the theory. +or Popper, confirmations count only when there is such a ris factor involved. 0ven though 0instein's theory passed this particular

falsification test, it merely increases the credibility of the theory at best since assurance of the theory is a tric y position to assert for Popper unli e the logical positivists. 1ltimately, Popper claimed that all genuinely scientific tests of the theory should be attempts to falsify it. 0instein's theory of general relativity definitely provided us with a way to falsify it and thus, deserves a scientific status. $n contrast, the two psychoanalytic theories could not provide us with any conceivable test which will prove these theories are false if they were to fail the test. $n conse-uence, in the Popperian conception, such theories, since every possible picture of the world is compatible with, or even confirmations for them, do not really maintain the status of scientific legitimacy. #oreover, Popper thin s that astrology and #arxist theory of history, although they clearly have falsification tests, either fail to recogni2e their outcomes or ma e ad hoc hypotheses in order for the theories to agree with the results of the falsification tests. ,ence, these theories also do not merit scientific status. Popper's formulation, more or less derived from ,ume's problem of induction which is later well articulated by 3orn, only asserts the %tentative acceptance* of a law or a theory

since no amount of observational data can inductively guarantee the truth of the law or the theory in -uestion. $n the light of newly4observed, enriched .and possibly contradictory/ empirical data, a theory would potentially be falsified by pure deduction as Popper would claim. ,owever, this demarcation criterion between genuine science and pseudoscience is not a sharp, distinct line as Popper himself admitted that %there are degrees of testability.* This implies that the line of demarcation is rather a gray, blurred area where theories of science and pseudoscience would be entangled at least with this criterion alone. &o then, -uestions on this fu22iness of testability were raised against Popperian conception of genuine science and refuting examples are given for pseudosciences being eligible to be Popperian scientific or for those projects of research which we believe are securely scientific being fall short of Popper's criterion. 3ecause of this penumbra of demarcation, 5r6nbaum.7898/ argued that +reudian Psychoanalytic theory does not fall into the category of pseudoscience even by the Popperian standards. There are, in fact, some observational tests, according to 5r6nbaum, of memory selectivity and ego4threat which falsify +reudian conceptions of repression and also evidence against +reudian theory of dreams. :bservations have also found that there is no empirical correlation between the dream and the subconscious wishes. 0ven +reud himself abandoned his %strongly cherished aetiological hypothesis* due to unfavorable evidence. $f the falsification principle is only a penumbra of mingled science and pseudoscience each of which has varying degrees of falsification tests, Popper's single criterion of demarcation, therefore, does not necessarily demote +reudian psychology into the category of pseudoscience although the actual methodological practices of +reudian psychology might have pseudo4scientific natures. $n addition, can we safely argue that astrology, although denied by Popper because of its methodological practices to be scientific, is actually scientific since it has been established that falsification tests are overwhelmingly present and astrology has been falsified;

#axwell.789</ argued that Popper's real difficulty in tac ling the problem of demarcation, is his failure to provide an account of why we should value scientific theories more than any other sorts of theories. #axwell pointed out that even Popper was pu22led by the claim that a falsification instance of experimentation cannot guarantee the falsehood of the scientific theories. $magine in the case of an attempt to falsify 0instein's theory of general relativity with a test of observation the position of distant stars whose light pass through the strong gravitational field near the sun, the results turned out against what 0instein predicted. (an we with one hundred percent certainty that 0instein's theory was false; We absolutely cannot because this falsification procedure also presumes some set of hypotheses, such as the reliability and sensitivity of e-uipments, the lac of other possible .natural or otherwise/ processes interfering with the collection of data etc. $t is reasonable to -uestion that whenever we reject a theory based on Popperian standards, we might as well be rejecting a true theory. The other side of the concern is that whenever we are rejecting a theory, we are confirming the falsehood of the theory, which the problem of induction tells us is impossible to arrive at, and even Popper would agree with this. $n this sense, we can never reject the alchemists' theories on transforming metals merely because all our current observations and experiments tell us a different story. Therefore, there are some grounds to argue that refutation of the theories is impossible for Popperian standards. #axwell also pointed out that Popper's methodological rules from his boo of %"ogic of &cientific =iscovery* are also subject to criticism .primarily by !uhn, +eyerabend and "a atos/ since they are too demanding based on actual scientific practices and therefore, not followed by the scientists at wor . #axwell then gave us his own refutation of Popperian principles, namely, Popper's failure to give a satisfactory reason for preferring Popperian principles of falsification rather than any other set of principles in the -uest of scientific achievements. #axwell believed that the core of any acceptable solution to the problem of

demarcation should explain why we should accept scientific theories more than other sorts of accidental or factual statements. :ne might, as #axwell suggested, argue for the increasing scientific status of the theory that was not falsified by multiple tests, but still, the -uestion remains why we should value this scientific status. #axwell recommended that rather than setting Popper's aim of science to progress toward truth or to eliminate error, the aim of science should be more concerned with the explanatory power and increasing verisimilitude of the theories. &till this is just substituting a different goal which we apparently have to give some justification for pursuing. ,owever, the difference is that this different goal can be justified with one or more appropriate metaphysical theses.such as :ccam's ra2or/ whereas Popper's goal cannot appeal to any such metaphysical principle according to #axwell. $f we hold the belief that the simplest theories better explanatory theories, we could probably get around and do not have to deal with the problem of induction which lur s behind the bac ground of demarcation beginning from the verification principle to several other solutions. #axwell concluded that ultimately it is the apparent success .in explanatory power/ of physics that earned its scientific status, not its rationality. This leads us to thin that if the world is actually filled with miracles and magical instances, rationality would mean something radically different. $ will examine more on this criterion of science based on progress toward explanatory power later in this essay. "a atos.78>7/ also argued that Popperian criterion is not the real demarcation because in his own words, Popperian criterion %ignores the remar able tenacity of scientific theories*. "a atos pointed out that the way scientists, for example, ?ewtonian physicists, functioned are not so much different from the #arxists, which Popper was trying to discredit, in regards to stic ing with the theory in the face of contradictory evidence and providing ad hoc hypotheses. Therefore, refuting the Popperian criterion as the demarcation principle, "a atos attempted his own account of %demarcation* which is nown as %the research

programme.* $n his view, the distinguished feature between progressive theories and degenerative ones is that the former enriches our nowledge about the world while the latter merely struggles to fit with the already nown facts. "a atos' %research programmes*

answered a lot of -uestions that Popperian rules struggle with. +or example, refuting a novel theory in its developmental stages once an observation or a few observations do not agree with the theory might never really ma e the progress in science, and the history of science, as "a atos claimed, shows that the majority of scientists are effectively lenient towards the novel theories in rejecting them. 0ven though novel theories in their developmental stages might still have a lot less apparent explanatory power and %contrary evidence* for them compared to the mature, established theories, scientists might still pursue and give sufficient time to those novel theories to strengthen their explanatory power as well as the consistency of their internal principles. &o then, we have to as the -uestion, if the principle of falsification does not

successfully serve as the demarcation criterion to rule out pseudo4scientific theories such as +reudian psychoanalysis, or astrology, what other criterion or criteria would fulfill the purpose, or even if the problem of demarcation itself is a problem. ,istorically, relatively -uite earlier than Popper, the logical positivists of the @ienna (ircle in the 78ABs, approached the problem of demarcating science and metaphysics .a slightly different problem/ with different versions of verification principles, but such attempts ultimately failed and Popper rejected them since verification .to certainty or even to some probability/ is an infeasible goal. !uhn .78C</ gave his own picture of the history of science with paradigms, revolutions and his distinguishing feature between the practices of science and pseudoscience is that science is a %pu22le4 solving* enterprise. According to !uhn, astrology, in contrast to astronomy, does not give any room for pu22le4solving activities. Popper rejected !uhn's position by claiming that it is rather

a sociological demarcation criterion as opposed to Popper's own criterion of falsification which he believed is a rational one. =espite all Popper's disagreements with him, !uhn.789D/ actually claimed that he and Popper, in fact, were doing the same exact thing, digging up the history of science to answer the identical -uestions and surprisingly, !uhn believed that many of their conclusions are the same. +or example, they both agree that scientific progress is not a purely accumulative one, both have more or less the same views on the role scientific revolutions play in replacing older theories and both were trying to discredit astrology, psychoanalysis or #arxist historiography as not being genuine sciences. ,owever, he claimed, %EPopper'sF duc may at last become my rabbit* in the method of ma ing such a distinction. !uhn's argument is that his own demarcation criterion %pu22le4solving* is more fundamental than falsification. (onsidering the case of astrology, it cannot be banished from science not because of the nature of its predictions or the nature of explanations for their failures. )ather, astrology is a craft just li e old medicine, engineering or meteorology and so not a genuine science. 0ven for those fields which we always believe belong to the scientific realm, until pu22les were proposed to solve, !uhn claimed that there was %no science to practice*. 1nli e astronomy, astrology, although practiced by the very same figures such as Ptolemy, 3rahe or !epler, has no pu22les to solve and therefore not a genuine science even if it satisfies Popper's criterion of falsification. $ have thus far provided the arguments for the failure of Popperian demarcation to get rid of beliefs and practices which we now regard as pseudosciences such as astrology, psychoanalysis even though Popper claimed he did. &ome might even argue that Popperian demarcation of falsification is self4defeating because refuting a hypothesis is never possible without confirming some set of contrary hypotheses. Also, there are methodological difficulties in refuting a theory based on contrary evidence because of our lac of certainty on the

correlation between the evidence and the theory in highlight. +urthermore, scientists in practice do not possibly follow the stringent rules of Popperian falsification in refuting a theory although there is clear contrary evidence against it, but instead, just as the !uhnian picture would suggest, scientists would try to fix the defective pieces or would set aside them temporarily. Whenever two or more competing theories were available for the scientists, scientists will try to follow the route which they believe will open up a lot of legitimate and unsolved pu22les. What counts as a legitimate pu22le and the rationality behind pursuing those pu22les depend more or less on the social4psychological states of the scientific community. Philosophers of science, even though different in their solutions to the demarcation problem, unanimously agreed that creationism, astrology, homeopathy, !irlian photography, dowsing, ufology, ancient astronaut theory, ,olocaust denialism, @eli ovs ian catastrophism and so on, are instances of pseudosciences. .&.0.P/ $t occurs to me that we, as informed, educated people, probably have already decided which projects are scientific and which ones are not even before appealing to the falsification proposals and tests. Tests, undeniably, are important steps that scientific enterprise must ta e to maintain scientific status. ,owever, even before the tests are articulated and thought out for the theory in spotlight, we ma e judgments whether or not a project is scientific or pseudoscientific based on the -uestions it raised and the nature of answers it see s. And the rationality of such judgments does not remain constant for different ages of scientific enterprise. What once was thought as genuine scientific projects such as alchemy, classical element theory, or even exobiology may have been buried as either pseudoscientific ho um or pre4science misconceptions and utterances. !uhn's pu22le4solving feature seems superior to Popper's falsification because the former can securely rule out creationism, psychoanalysis etc. whereas the latter has trouble with despite Popper's rejections of these. 3ut ultimately, the judgment of demarcation is made

from our own standpoint of which projects we believe would bring us most fruitful nowledge.explanations/ and products or rather, %progress*. $f there seems to be conflicts among these different projects, we may possibly prefer some over others based on this notion of progress. )eductionism of other sciences .biology, psychology etc./ into physics, in the remote future, may become the fundamental principle of science when projects in these less rigid sciences turn to become regarded as obsolete and fruitless. &imilarly, it is also li ely that novel scientific disciplines.just as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, organic electronics, neuroethics, or even earlier, economics, psychology and a bunch of other social sciences/ would emerge in the future not because these disciplines can bring us closer to the reality but rather, because of their applicability to our human condition. &ome %pu22les* definitely provide convenient ways of achieving this ind of progress as we as new -uestions that are relevant to our new world. We would either remain persistent on the older theories even in the face of contrary evidence or we would ma e the gestalt switch even if these novel theories have not yet convinced us with falsification tests. References 1. Popper, K. Conjectures and Refutations: The Gro th of !cientific Kno led"e.# $%e &or': (arper Torchboo's, 1)*+,, pp.++-+), ./-...

<. 5r6nbaum, A. %$s +reudian Psychoanalytic theory Pseudo4scientific by !arl Popper's (riterion of =emarcation;* American Philosophical Quarterly, @ol.7C, ?o.<, .Apr 7898/, pp. 7A747D7 A. #axwell, ?. %A (riti-ue of Popper's @iews on &cientific #ethod.* Philosophy of Science. @ol. A8, ?o. <.Gun 789</, pp. 7A747H<. 4. "a atos. %&cience and Pseudoscience.* )etrieved from http'IIcrl.ucsd.eduIJahorowitIla atos.pdf.

5. !uhn, T. %"ogic of &cientific =iscovery or Psychology of )esearch;* )etrieved from http'IIphiloscience.unibe.chIdocumentsI ursarchivIW&BHI uhnKen.pdf 6. %&cience and Pseudoscience*. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. )etrieved from http'IIplato.stanford.eduIentriesIpseudo4scienceILPsePse.