The Issue Of Demarcation : A Philosophical Problem

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Demarcation is a philosophical problem with far reaching implications in our daily lives, both theoretically and practically. The issue of demarcation stems from the idea of how to distinguish science from pseudoscience and attempts to establish a set of criterion from which individuals can determine the empirical nature of a certain theory. Philosophical musings regarding demarcations have been around for the past hundreds of years. For the philosophers that we read, this time was during the era when Marx, Freud, Adler and Einstein were all proposing or had recently proposed their respective theories. Philosophers such as Popper, Kuhn and Lakatos all sought to determine the scientific nature of Freudian’s Id and Ego as well as Marx’s political beliefs. Popper, the earliest of the philosophers we read regarding the issue of demarcation proposed that a certain theory can only be deemed science if that theory had the ability to be proven false. Kuhn, on the other hand, attempted to define the problem of demarcation as that which solves puzzles rather than testing theories. Finally, Lakatos notes that a theory can be proven scientific if and only if it has the ability to prove an unusual future event. While all these philosophers indeed have powerful arguments, I found those to be proposed by Popper and Lakatos the most intriguing. My view on demarcation closely parallels that of Lakatos, however I do understand Popper’s position but notice pitfalls in his argument. The problem
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