The Idea of “Pseudo-Science”

When I was poking my nose around philosophy of science in the 1990s, I was told that Larry Laudan’s critique of “the demarcation criterion” had pretty much scuppered the very idea of “pseudo-science.”    Since I don’t work in philosophy of science, but take a keen (and amateurish) interest in the debates about creationism and intelligent design, I found this unfortunate.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I found that some philosophers of science still take the idea of “pseudo-science” seriously and are intent on rescuing it from Laudan’s criticism.  First, I bring to your attention a recent NY Times article, “The Dangers of Pseudo-Science” (part of the usually excellent NY Time series The Stone, which brings philosophy out of the rarefied atmosphere of academia into the very slightly less rarefied atmosphere of the NY Times readership).   The authors, Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry, are also the editors of Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem — which, guessing from the table of contents and reviews, will be an excellent collection.