Demarcation Dilemma

The Demarcation Dilemma (PDF) explores how we define natural science, that is, how we distinguish between science and non-science. It does not deal with the question of how we distinguish between good science and poor science, or between good anything versus poor anything. This is a handout I developed many years ago, recently updated for my spring online course, where it supplements the lecture on “Language and Reality.” That lecture defends the idea of many sciences (scientia, Wissenschaft), each defined by their epistemic status (knowledge) relative to opinion. This handout critiques the alternative idea that there is one universal scientific method regardless of the specific area of science involved. The next lecture, “Knowing kata-physin,” picks up where this leaves off with a broader discussion of scientific methodology across the various disciplines with their distinctive problems and subjects of inquiry.

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