What do we mean when we speak of pseudoscience? The development of a demarcation criterion based on the analysis of twenty-one previous attempts

Angelo Fasce
Universidad de Valencia, España | angelofasce@hotmail.com

Recibido: 6-Octubre-2017 | Aceptado: 20-Diciembre-2017 | Publicado: 22-Diciembre-2017
Texto Completo | Nota de Copyright | Índice Vol. 6 No. 7

Cómo citar este artículo:
Fasce, Angelo. «What do we mean when we speak of pseudoscience? The development of a demarcation criterion based on the analysis of twenty-one previous attempts». Disputatio. Philosophical Research Bulletin 6, nº 7 (2017): pp. 459-488.

Abstract | A critical analysis of twenty-one demarcation criteria is carried out, obtaining as a result a demarcating tool that allows appropriate screening between science and pseudoscience. After an introduction that will emphasize the scientific and social relevance of the demarcation problem and the need of an adequate approach to face it, the specific problems of multicriterial attempts will be remarked, such as their lack of theoretical foundations and the presence of dispensable and contradictory items. On the basis of this first analysis, a metacriterion, the necessary general requirements for a demarcation criterion, will be established. The data analysis will show a lack of progress among demarcation criteria from 1964 to date, and will provide a demarcation criterion partially based on the items with greater support.
Keywords |
 Pseudoscience · Demarcation criterion · Multicriteria.

¿Qué queremos decir cuando hablamos de pseudociencia? El desarrollo de un criterio de demarcación basado en el análisis de veintiún intentos anteriores

Resumen | Se lleva a cabo el análisis crítico de veintiún criterios de demarcación, obteniéndose como resultado una herramienta que permite un cribado adecuado entre ciencia y pseudociencia. Luego de una introducción que enfatiza la relevancia científica y social del problema de la demarcación y la necesidad de un enfoque adecuado para hacerle frente, son remarcados los problemas específicos de los intentos demarcativos de tipo multicriterio, como la falta de fundamentos teóricos y la presencia de ítems prescindibles y/o contradictorios. Sobre la base de este primer análisis, es desarrollado un metacriterio: los requisitos filosóficos necesarios para un criterio de demarcación. El análisis de datos indica falta de progreso entre los criterios de demarcación propuestos desde 1964 hasta la fecha, y permite el desarrollo de un criterio basado en los ítems con mayor apoyo, capaz de satisfacer las exigencias del metacriterio planteado.
Palabras Clave | Pseudociencia · Criterio de demarcación · Multicriterios.


Afonso, Ana Sofía; Gilbert, John (2009). «Pseudo-science: A Meaningful Context for Assessing Nature of Science». International Journal of Science Education 32, no. 3: pp. 329-48. doi: 10.1080/09500690903055758

Agassi, Joseph (1991). «Popper’s demarcation of science refuted». Methodology and Science 24. pp. 1-7.

Alters, Brian (1997). «Whose Nature of Science?». Journal of Research in Science Teaching 34: pp. 39-55. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2736(199701)34:1<39::AID-TEA4>3.0.CO;2-P

Bensley Alan; Lilienfeld, Scott; Powel, Lauren (2014). «A new measure of psychological misconceptions: Relations with academic background, critical thinking, and acceptance of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims». Learning and Individual Differences 36: pp. 9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2014.07.009

Beyerstein, Barry (1995). Distinguising Science from Pseudoscience. Retrieved from: http://www.sld.cu/galerias/pdf/sitios/revsalud/beyerstein_cience_vs_pseudoscience.pdf.

Blancke, Stefaan; Boudry, Maarten; Pigliucci, Massimo (2016). «Why Do Irrational Beliefs Mimic Science? The Cultural Evolution of Pseudoscience». Theoria 83, no. 1: 78-97. doi: 10.1111/theo.12109

Broad, Charlie. (1953). «The relevance of psychical research to philosophy». In Philosophy and parapsychology, edited by Jan Ludwig. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, pp. 43-63.

Brotherton, Robert; French, Chris.; Pickering, Alan (2013). «Measuring Belief in Conspiracy Theories: The Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale». Frontiers in Psychology 4: pp. 1-15. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00279

Bunge, Mario (1982). Demarcating Science from Pseudoscience. Fundamenta Scientiae 3: pp. 369-388.

CAMbrella (2012). «CAMbrella Documents and Reports». Retrieved from: http://www.cambrella.eu/home.php?il=203&l=deu.

Carnap, Rudolf (1950). Logical Fundations Probability. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cartwright, Nancy (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/0198247044.001.0001

Cat, Jodi (2006). «Unity and Disunity of Science». In The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia, edited by Sahotra Sarkar and Jessica Pfeifer. New York: Routledge, pp. 842-47.

Coker, Rory (2001). «Distinguishing Science and Pseudoscience». Retrieved from: http://hep.physics.utoronto.ca/~orr/wwwroot/JPH441/Pseudoscience.pdf.

Cusack, Karen, et al. (2016). «Psychological treatments for adults with posttraumatic stress disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis». Clin Psychol Rev. 43: 128-141. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2015.10.003

Davidson, Paul; Parker, Kevin (2001). «Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): A meta-analysis». Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 69, no. 2: pp. 305-316. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.69.2.305

Derksen, Anthony (1993). «The seven sins of pseudo-science». Journal for General Philosophy of Science 24, no. 1: 17-42. doi: 10.1007/BF00769513

Dietrich, Michael (2000). «The problem of the gene». C R Acad Sci III. 323, no.12: 1139-46. doi: 10.1016/S0764-4469(00)01257-9

Dupré, John (1993). The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Dutch, Steven (1982). «Notes on the nature of fringe science». Journal of Geological Education 30: pp. 6-13. doi: 10.5408/0022-1368-30.1.6

Elliott, Steven (2016). «Bad Science: Cause and Consequence». J Pharm Sci. 105 (4): pp. 1358-1361. doi: 10.1016/j.xphs.2016.01.002

Ernst, Edzard (2010). «Homeopathy: what does the “best” evidence tell us?». Med. J. 192, no. 8: pp. 458-460.

Fanelli, Daniele (2009). «How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data». PLoS ONE 4, no. 5: e5738. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005738

Fasce, Angelo (2017). «Los parásitos de la ciencia. Una caracterización psicocognitiva del engaño pseudocientífico». Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 32, no. 3: 347-365.

Fasce, Angelo; Picó, Alfonso (2018a). «Sociodemographic, Personality and Cognitive Differences Among Believers in Pseudoscience, the Paranormal and Conspiracy Theories». Under Review.

Fasce, Angelo; Picó, Alfonso (2018b). «Science as a Vaccine. The impact of Scientific Literacy on Unwarranted Beliefs». Under Review.

Fasce, Angelo; Picó, Alfonso (2018c). «Conceptual Foundations and Validation of the Pseudoscientific Belief Scale». Under Review.

Franz, Timothy; Green, Kris (2013). «The impact of an interdisciplinary learning community course on pseudoscientific reasoning in first-year science students». Journal of the Scholarship of teaching and Learning 13, no. 5: pp. 90-105.

Garb, Howard; Boyle, Patricia (2003). «Understanding Why Some Clinicians Use Pseudoscientific Methods: Findings from Research on Clinical Judgment». In Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology, edited by Scott Lilienfeld, Steven Lynn, and Jeffrey Lohr. New York: The Guilford Press, pp. 17-39.

Giere, Ronald (1979). Understanding scientific reasoning. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Glymour, Clark; Stalker, Douglas (1990). «Winning through Pseudoscience». In Philosophy of Science and the Occult, edited by Patrick Grim. Albany: State University of New York Press, pp. 92-103.

Godfrey-Smit, Peter (1993) «Functions: Consensus Without Unity». Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 74: pp. 196-208. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0114.1993.tb00358.x

Goldacre, Ben (2008). Bad Science. London: Fourth Estate.

Grove, J. (1985). «Rationality at Risk: Science against Pseudoscience». Minerva 23: 216-240. doi: 10.1007/BF01099943

Gruenberger, Fred (1964). «A measure for crackpots». Science 25: 1413-1415. doi: 10.1126/science.145.3639.1413

Hansson, Sven Ove (1996). «Defining Pseudoscience». Philosophia Naturalis 33: 169-176.

Hansson, Sven Ove (1983). «Vetenskap och ovetenskap». Stockholm: Tiden.

Hansson, Sven Ove (2006). «Falsificationism Falsified». Foundations of Science 11, no. 3: 275-286. doi: 10.1007/s10699-004-5922-1

Hansson, Sven Ove (2007). «Values in Pure and Applied Science». Foundations of Science 12: 257-268. doi: 10.1007/s10699-007-9107-6

Hansson, Sven Ove (2009). «Cutting the Gordian Knot of Demarcation». International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23, no. 3: 237-243. doi: 10.1080/02698590903196007

Hansson, Sven Ove (2013). Defining pseudoscience and science. In Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem, edited by Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 61-77. doi: 10.7208/chicago/9780226051826.003.0005

Hansson, Sven Ove (2017a). Science denial as a form of pseudoscience. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 63: pp. 39-47. doi: 10.1016/j.shpsa.2017.05.002

Hansson, Sven Ove (2017b). «Science and Pseudo-Science». In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward Zalta. Retrieved from: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2017/entries/pseudo-science.

Hempel, Carl [1959](1994). «The Logic of Functional Analysis». In Readings in the Philosophy of Social Science, edited by Michael Martin and Lee McIntyre. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Herbert, James, et al. (2000). «Science and pseudoscience in the development of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: Implications for clinical psychology». Clinical Psychology Review 20: pp. 945-971. doi: 10.1016/S0272-7358(99)00017-3

Hey, Jody (2001). «The mind of the species problem». Trends Ecol Evol. 16, no. 7: pp. 326-329. doi: 10.1016/S0169-5347(01)02145-0

Irzik, Gürol; Nola, Robert (2011). «A Family Resemblance Approach to the Nature of Science for Science Education». Science & Education 20, no. 7-8: pp. 591-607. doi: 10.1007/s11191-010-9293-4

Johnson, Matthew; Pigliucci, Massimo (2004). «Is Knowledge of Science Associated with Higher Skepticism of Pseudoscientific Claims?». The American Biology Teacher 66, no. 8: pp. 536-548. doi: 10.2307/4451737

Jones, John (2005) «Memorandum opinion». Retrieved from: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8d/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District.pdf.

Kitcher, Phillip (1982). «Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism». Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Kuhn, Thomas (1974). «Logic of Discovery or Psychology of Research?». In The Philosophy of Karl Popper, The Library of Living Philosophers vol XIV, book II, edited by Paul Schilpp. La Salle: Open Court, pp. 798-819.

Kuhn, Thomas (1977). The essential tension: selected studies in scientific tradition and change. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lacey, Hugh (2004). Is Science Value Free?: Values and Scientific Understanding. New Jersey: Routledge.

Lack, Caleb; Rousseau, Jaques (2016). Critical thinking, science, and pseudoscience: why we can’t trust our brains. New York: Springer Publishing Company. doi: 10.1891/9780826194268

Lakatos, Imre (1970). «Falsification and the Methodology of Research program». In Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, edited by Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 91-197. doi: 10.1017/CBO9781139171434.009

Lakatos, Imre (1974a). «Popper on Demarcation and Induction». In The Philosophy of Karl Popper, The Library of Living Philosophers vol XIV, book I, edited by Paul Schilpp. La Salle: Open Court, pp. 241–273.

Lakatos, Imre (1974b). «Science and pseudoscience». Conceptus 8: pp. 5-9.

Lakatos, Imre (1978a). The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511621123

Lakatos, Imre (1978b). Mathematics, Science, and Epistemology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511624926

Langmuir, Irving [1953] (1989). «Pathological Science». Physics Today 42, no. 10: pp. 36-48. doi: 10.1063/1.881205

Laudan, Larry (1982). «Science at the Bar – Causes for Concern». In But Is It Science?, edited by Michael Ruse. Buffalo: Prometheus.

Laudan, Larry (1983). «The Demise of the Demarcation Problem». In Physics, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis, edited by R. Cohen and Larry Laudan. Dordrecht: D. Reidel, pp. 111-127. doi: 10.1007/978-94-009-7055-7_6

Lewandowsky, Stephan; Gignac, Gilles; Oberauer, Klaus (2013). «The role of conspiracist ideation and worldviews in predicting rejection of science». PLoS One 8,  no. 10: e75637. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075637

Liliefeld, Scott.; Ammirati, Rachel; David, Michael (2012). «Distinguishing science from pseudoscience in school psychology: Science and scientific thinking as safeguards against human error». Journal of School Psychology 50, no. 1: 7-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2011.09.006

Lilienfeld, Scotti; Lohr, Jeffrey; Morier, Dean. (2004). «The Teaching of Courses in the Science and Pseudoscience of Psychology: Useful Resources». Teaching of Psychology 28, no. 3: 182-191. doi: 10.1207/S15328023TOP2803_03

Lobato, Emilio, et al. (2014). «Examining the Relationship Between Conspiracy Theories, Paranormal Beliefs, and Pseudoscience Acceptance Among a University Population». Applied Cognitive Psychology 28: 617-625. doi: 10.1002/acp.3042

Lugg, Andrew (1987). «Bunkum, Flim-Flam and Quackery: Pseudoscience as a Philosophical Problem». Dialectica 41: 221–30. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-8361.1987.tb00889.x

Lundstrôm, Mats; Jakobsson, Anders (2009). «Students’ Ideas Regarding Science and Pseudo-science in Relation to the Human Body and Health». Nordina 5, no. 1:  pp. 3-17. doi: 10.5617/nordina.279

Mahner, Martin (2007). «Demarcating Science from Non-science». In Handbook of the Philosophy of Science Vol. 1, General Philosophy of Science—Focal Issues, edited by Theo Kuipers. Amsterdam: North Holland, pp. 515-575.

Mahner, Martin (2013). «Science and Pseudoscience. How to Demarcate after the (Alleged) Demise of the Demarcation Problem». In Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem, edited by Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 29-45. doi: 10.7208/chicago/9780226051826.003.0003

Majima, Yoshimasa (2015). «Belief in Pseudoscience, Cognitive Style and Science Literacy». Applied Cognitive Psychology 29: pp. 552-559. doi: 10.1002/acp.3136

McNally, Richard (2007). «Dispelling confusiong about traumatic dissociative amnesia». Mayo Clin. Proc. 82, no. 9: pp. 1083-1090. doi: 10.4065/82.9.1083

Merton, Robert [1942] (1973). «The Normative Structure of Science». In The Sociology of Science. Theoretical and Empirical Investigations, edited by Robert Merton. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 267-278.

Nickles, Thomas (2013). The Problem of Demarcation History and Future. In M. Pigliucci and M. Boudry (Eds.), Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem (pp. 101-121). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Open Science Collaboration (2015). «Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science». Science 349, no. 6251: aac4716. doi: 10.1126/science.aac4716

Overton, William (1982). «Creationism in Schools: The Decision in McLean vs. the Arkansas Board of Education» Science 215, no. 4535: pp. 934-943. doi: 10.1126/science.215.4535.934

Park, R. (2003). «Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science». Retrieved from: http://www.unl.edu/rhames/park-seven-signs.pdf.

Pigliucci, Massimo (2013). «The Demarcation Problem. A (Belated) Response to Laudan». In Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem, edited by Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 9-28. doi: 10.7208/chicago/9780226051826.003.0002

Popper, Karl (1963). Conjectures and Refutations. New York: Basic Books.

Popper, Karl (1974). «Reply to my critics». In The Philosophy of Karl Popper. The Library of Living Philosophers vol. XIV, book 2, edited by Paul Schilpp. La Salle: Open Court, pp. 961-1197.

Reisch, George (1998). «Pluralism, Logical Empiricism, and the Problem of Pseudoscience». Philosophy of Science 65: pp. 333-48. doi: 10.1086/392642

Rescher, Nicholas (1998). «Predicting the Future. An Introduction to the Theory of Forecasting». New York: SUNY Press.

Resnik, David (2000). «A Pragmatic Approach to the Demarcation Problem». Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 31: 249-267. doi: 10.1016/S0039-3681(00)00004-2

Rothbartd, D. (1990). «Demarcating Genuine Science from Pseudoscience». In Philosophy of Science and the Occult, edited by Patrick Grim. Albany: State University of New York Press, pp. 111-122.

Ruse, Michael (1982). «Creation-Science is Not Science. Science». Technology, and Human Values 7, no. 40: pp. 72-78. doi: 10.1177/016224398200700313

Schlick, Theodore; Vaughn, Lewis (1995). How to think about weird things. Critical thinking for a New Age. New Tork: McGraw-Hill.

Schindler, Samuel (2018). «Pseudo-solutions to the demarcation». Manuscript.

Shermer, Michael (2013). Science and Pseudoscience. «The Difference in Practice and the Difference It Makes». In Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem, edited by Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 203-225. doi: 10.7208/chicago/9780226051826.003.0012

Siitonen, Arto (1984). «Demarcation of Science from the Point of View of Problems and Problem-Stating». Philosophia naturalis 21: pp. 339-353.

Skelton, Randall (2011). «A Survey to the Forensic Sciences». Raleigh: lulu.com.

Thagard, Paul (1978). «Why Astrology is a Pseudoscience?». PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1: 223-234.

Thagard, Paul (1988). Computational philosophy of science. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Tobacyk, Jerome (2004). «A Revised Paranormal Belief Scale». International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 23, no. 1: pp. 94-98. doi: 10.24972/ijts.2004.23.1.94

Toulmin, Stephen (1984). «The new philosophy of science and the “paranormal”». Skeptical Inquirer 9: pp. 48-55.

Tseng, Yuang-Chueh, et al. (2014) «The Relationship Between Exposure to Pseudoscientific Television Programmes and Pseudoscientific Beliefs among Taiwanese University Students». International Journal of Science Education B, no. 4: pp. 107-122.

Tuomela, Raimo (1985). Science, Action and Reality. Reidel, Dordrecht. doi: 10.1007/978-94-009-5446-5

van Fraassen, Bas (1989). Laws and Symmetry. Oxford: Clarendon Press. doi: 10.1093/0198248601.001.0001

Vollmer, Gerhard (1993). Wissenschaftstheorie im Einsatz, Beiträge zu einer selbstkritischen Wissenschaftsphilosophie. Stuttgart: Hirzel Verlag.

Wilson, Edward (1998). Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. New York: Vintage Books.

Wilson, Fred (2000). The Logic and Methodology of Science and Pseudoscience. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Worrall, Jhon (2003). «Normal Science and Dogmatism, Paradigms and Progress: Kuhn ‘versus’ Popper and Lakatos». In Thomas Kuhn, edited by Thomas Nickles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Información Adicional
Disputatio [Diciembre 2017], Volumen 6, Número 7, pp. 459-488
Artículo | [esp] | Estadísticas | BIBLID [2254-0601(2017)6:7; pp.459-488]
DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1433737

© El autor(es) 2017. Publicado por Disputatio bajo una licencia Creative Commons, por tanto Vd. puede copiar, distribuir y comunicar públicamente este artículo. No obstante, debe tener en cuenta lo prescrito en la nota de copyright. Permisos, preguntas, sugerencias y comentarios, dirigirse a este correo electrónico: boletin@disputatio.eu o rellenar este formulario.